Lacks dramatic tension and fails to bring this great music alive. It does not sing.
Wenders lets the music and the sprightly people who make it speak for themselves, although the director's ongoing fascination with the urban environment is in top form as the camera serenely cruises the streets of Havana, often at a velvety dusk.
Los Angeles Times by
Being able to hear this kind of playing is a special moment in time, one we don't want to end and one that we're privileged to experience.
New York Magazine (Vulture) by
I've never seen another movie that so clearly expresses the sensual sustenance that great folk culture provides its practitioners.
Chicago Sun-Times by
It is a touching story, and the musicians (some over 90 years old) still have fire and grace onstage, but, man, does the style of this documentary get in the way.
Austin Chronicle by
Buena Vista Social Club is obviously intended less as a concert film than as a set of cinematic liner notes about the vanishing musical culture.