Neil Young: Heart of Gold
a Jonathan Demme picture
Director: Jonathan Demme
"It's acoustically and visually a goldmine."
Opening February 10 in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, San Francisco
Opening in other cities February 17 & 24
"The mesmerizing, heart-tugging concert film Heart of Gold confirms Neil Young's stature as a national treasure."
"In 'Neil Young: Heart of Gold,' the colors shift from ocher to shades of blue as the mood shifts from plaintive to rueful. Every so often a scrim slides awkwardly into place behind the musicians and a painted train cutting across a prairie is replaced with an interior scene of a skinny cat, a fat chair and a fireplace. The show's simplicity and homespun vibe serve Mr. Young's emotionally tremulous songs, both the new and the old, wonderfully well. At one point, during one of his occasional verbal rambles, he says half-jokingly, half-defensively that he's got some love songs left in him. This film, which is at once a valentine from one artist to another and a valentine from a musician to his audience, is surely proof that he does."
" 'Neil Young: Heart of Gold' is one of the best performance films in the medium -- a gorgeous, touching slice of Americana."
"Demme keeps the cameras right in front of the performers, and he avoids the stale rock-concert ecstasy of swooping and swivelling and shooting into the lights. Nothing in this movie is aggressively sold; nothing in it is intended to change your life. The attitude is 'Take it or leave it - this is what Neil Young is.' Ignoring the audience in the hall, Demme concentrates on the music and the lyrics and the relations between Young and members of the band - sometimes just a nod, a smile, a raised eyebrow. Since the sound is unusually clear as well as full, one can actually hear the lyrics in all their mournful nearpoetry. One might call 'Neil Young: Heart of Gold' soothing, even becalmed, but mellowness and ripeness, when they exist at this high level of craft, should have their season, too.
"It's a sentimental show, sure, but Young's pantheistic hymns to family, friendship, and 'the time we share together' are nothing if not heartfelt."
"You don't have to be a Neil Young fan or contemporary to be deeply moved by the prescience of these songs or the affirming presence of his back-up singer wife, Pegi, his friend Emmylou Harris (who provides memorable assist on 'This Old Guitar') and a graying fraternity of studio-musician pals from the year one. To see and hear 'Neil Young: Heart of Gold' is like soaking in a warm tub filled to the brim with luxuriant, life-restoring music."
Images from the film:
"Demme uses the camera as a divining rod, pointing at the man with the guitar."
"With its varied close-ups and wide shots of the performers and a series of interviews with several of the musicians as they prepare to perform, Heart of Gold is a traditional concert film. But a traditional concert film starring Neil Young brings a layer of emotion to the medium that's rarely seen."
"Everything about the production serves to complement and flavour intimate performances from Young at his country-tinged best, singing, playing and conversing with gusto..."
"The performances so beautifully captured in this movie are a glowing embodiment of American vernacular music - strains of country, folk and rock twine through the proceedings as if no borders of style or fashion had ever forced them apart. You come away from the picture feeling as if you'd learned something new about the wonder of music, and maybe the human spirit, too. There can't be a much higher recommendation for seeing it."
"Neil Young, iconoclastic troubadour for decades of counter-culture in the United States, has made the ultimate American family film."