• Network: HBO
  • Series Premiere Date: Dec 9, 2013
  • Season #: 1
Metascore
85

Universal acclaim - based on 12 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 11 out of 12
  2. Negative: 0 out of 12
  1. 100
    This is one of the best movies about the artistic process I've seen--a film that can engross and illuminate even if you know nothing of Sondheim.
  2. Reviewed by: David Wiegand
    Dec 9, 2013
    100
    Lapine's direction is almost the star of Six by Sondheim. Not only has he used the six songs to illuminate the composer's life, he organizes years and years of interviews as if they are an ongoing conversation--which, in many ways, they are. They are the monograph of the life and art of a singular man, perfectly assembled, bit by bit, piece by piece.
  3. Reviewed by: Linda Winer
    Dec 9, 2013
    100
    Riveting, important and lots of fun.
  4. Reviewed by: Jessica Shaw
    Dec 5, 2013
    100
    A delicious deep dive into six Stephen Sondheim songs.
  5. Reviewed by: Matt Roush
    Dec 9, 2013
    90
    Lapine uses a half-dozen of Sondheim's most notable songs as a springboard for a biographical study that's contemplative, analytical and transcendentally emotional.
  6. Reviewed by: Sarah Rodman
    Dec 9, 2013
    80
    Given how sharp his songwriting is, it’s little surprise that Sondheim makes an excellent storyteller, always candid and precise, and by turns funny and rueful. And it’s a remarkable tale, one that could probably make for a great musical.
  7. Reviewed by: Nancy DeWolf Smith
    Dec 5, 2013
    80
    Despite the music in James Lapine's documentary, Six By Sondheim, it is archival clips of Mr. Sondheim describing how he writes that make the film a treasure.
  8. Reviewed by: Emily Nussbaum
    Dec 3, 2013
    80
    Sondheim’s frequent collaborator James Lapine directs, and he does an excellent job of stitching together interviews from more than four decades, including ones with Mike Douglas and Diane Sawyer, to form a portrait of the composer as both a young and an old man.
  9. Reviewed by: David Rooney
    Dec 3, 2013
    80
    To longtime fans, much of this material and many of the anecdotes will be familiar. But folded together in this wide-ranging assembly they make for an emotional appreciation of a singular artist.
  10. Reviewed by: Todd VanDerWerff
    Dec 6, 2013
    75
    Six By Sondheim is just barely more than the sum of its parts, but when it finally adds up, it feels like many of the master’s best songs and shows: a puzzle that assembles itself right in front of your eyes.
  11. Reviewed by: Brian Lowry
    Dec 5, 2013
    70
    It’s always challenging to capture the essence of such artistry on film, and Lapine comes pretty close.
  12. Reviewed by: David Hinckley
    Dec 9, 2013
    60
    Sondheim comes off as distant and a bit cool here, reluctant to make eye contact and often speaking with a professorial air even when he’s talking about himself. But what most people want in Sondheim isn’t a drinking buddy. It’s a musical composer, and in that he qualifies on all counts.
User Score
7.2

Generally favorable reviews- based on 10 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 2 out of 2
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 2
  3. Negative: 0 out of 2
  1. Dec 11, 2013
    10
    I am not a musical theater buff, far from it. But i thought the Sondheim show was one of the best things I've seen on TV in a long time. ItI am not a musical theater buff, far from it. But i thought the Sondheim show was one of the best things I've seen on TV in a long time. It was an amazingly well edited collection (the editor deserves ad Emmy) of clips from 30+ talk show appearances over 40 years. There were so many great explanations of how to write, how to be creative, how to think about the creative process, that the show transcended musical theater. Even if you know a lot about Sondheim, this show will make you think about more. Please do find it and watch it. Full Review »
  2. Dec 10, 2013
    10
    The best thing I've seen on TV all year: propulsive pace, lapidary editing, brand-new and period performances that kill, and best of all,The best thing I've seen on TV all year: propulsive pace, lapidary editing, brand-new and period performances that kill, and best of all, Sondheim himself: a brilliant, self-knowing raconteur, blazing with both attitude and gratitude. Full Review »