The Go-Go's are the latest musical act to receive the music documentary treatment. The Go-Go's premiered at the Sundance Film Festival on January 24th, 2020.
The reviews are in and critics are raving, not necessarily about the documentary itself (which most are saying is your average music doc format). What really has the film critics speaking so highly of the film are The Go-Go's themselves. Here's what the critics are saying:
“The Go-Go’s is a classically crafted rock doc that shows you, more or less, everything you want to know about this game-changing, grinning-and-bopping, God-do-you-miss-the-‘80s-or-what? punk-pop band. And it does so by spotlighting how the revolutionary aspect of their journey was embedded in everything they did. The Go-Go’s were the first band composed entirely of women who wrote their own songs, played their own instruments, and scored number-one hits," says Owen Gleiberman, Variety's chief film critic.
The Wrap's Todd Gilchrist says, "Not only does the film make you want to revisit their albums and replay those songs, but it also creates a real sense of personality and identity for all of the members that will enhance future listens of lesser-known cuts."
"Backed by a wealth of video footage, archival photographs and gig posters, Ellwood captures the determination with which the band thrust itself forward, neither glossing over nor digging too deep into the hint of ruthlessness with which early members — and later, original manager Ginger Canzoneri — were pushed aside as the band became big business," writes David Rooney for The Hollywood Reporter.
Mike Ryan, Senior Entertainment writer for Uproxx, says that, "the best thing about this documentary is that every singe member of The Go-Go’s is in “no f--ks” mode. They are all at an age where they are going to be open and honest about what happened and not sugarcoat the details."
And perhaps the doc's most passionate review comes from Rolling Stone's David Fear in which he details how the band has struggled to be taken as seriously as their male contemporaries.
"The Go-Go’s gives them a long overdue early-demos-to-late-act-reunions, famous-testimonials-and-faded-concert-footage music documentary; anyone who still thinks they’re just a footnote in ’80s music history lessons or, worse, ladies-who-rock (ugh) round-ups will come away properly schooled."
It seems that Alison Ellwood's documentary has prompted men to write as seriously, passionately, and accurately as they do about male musicians. Because of it we may see The Go-Go's legacy shift dramatically (as it should) and even see them finally get their induction into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
As of now, there is no official release date for The Go-Go's but based on these reviews, I hope we get it as soon as possible.
Photo: Getty Images