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20 Feet from Stardom

Backup singers live in a world just beyond the spotlight. Their voices bring harmony to the biggest bands in popular music, but we have no idea who these singers are, or what lives they lead--until now.
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90

The Hollywood Reporter by

Neville unearths a treasure trove of archival TV, concert and film footage featuring many of these vocalists in their heyday, balancing the material with perfectly-lit contemporary studio interviews and performances shot in pristine digital cinematography, supplemented by more informal scenes depicting the frequent challenges of these musicians' careers.
80

Time Out by David Fear

The sisterhood who have made this an art form mostly remain unsung heroes, as it were, of the hit parade. Their collective bow is long overdue.
80

Village Voice by Ernest Hardy

It does what the most powerful films and music have always done, which is to spark contemplation of our own lives and choices, and our place in the world, while also stoking compassion and empathy for lives far removed from our own.
80

Variety by Peter Debruge

For most of its running time, this personality-packed docu is nothing short of absorbing as it recaps the essential role African-American background singers played in shaping the sound of 20th-century pop music.
88

Rolling Stone by Peter Travers

Sometimes it's racism; sometimes bum luck; sometimes it's producer Phil Spector putting Love's voice in another singer's mouth. You watch. You hear the gospel spoken in the voices of these women. And you marvel.

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