The Reel Review
With an astoundingly wide-ranging career in folk, rock, pop, country, R&B, Broadway, big band classics and Mexican/mariachi genres, 10-time Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt is to music what Meryl Streep is to movies. This documentary, narrated by Ronstadt and directed by Oscar winners Rob Epstein and Jeff Feldstein (The Times of Harvey Milk), chronicles the remarkable life and career of one of the world’s best selling artists of all time, including the decade since Parkinson’s disease forced her to give up singing.
A treasure trove of archival footage and fun, colorful stories about her road to success are punctuated with rousing performances and interviews with colleagues and friends Don Henley, Bonnie Raitt, J.D. Souther, Emmylou Harris, Karla Bonoff, Jackson Browne, Dolly Parton and Aaron Neville. The portrait of Ronstadt is of a fearless, introspective artist who was a stereotype-busting pioneer in a male-dominated industry.
Ronstadt’s sheer love of singing and her uncanny knack for phrasing shines through, as does her penchant for perfectionism – detailed both in her friends’ interviews and evident in her own well done narration. Don’t be surprised when you find yourself creating a Linda Ronstadt playlist after seeing this inspiring film. What a voice.
• Linda Ronstadt will receive a Kennedy Center Honor in December 2019. She says she will attend only because she’s heard President Trump won’t be there.
• Ronstadt says she agreed to the documentary by Oscar-winning filmmakers Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman after being moved by a letter they wrote her and after seeing their documentary about Harvey Milk.
• Linda Ronstadt was instrumental in the creation of one of the world’s best-selling bands, The Eagles, having hired Don Henley and Glenn Frey to join her band and go on tour with her in 1971. They would often rehearse at Ronstadt’s home.