Not a Great Documentary, or Even a Great Music Film
Patti Smith: Dream of Life is a frankly disappointing documentary which gives little real insight into its subject. Made by Patti Smith herself, the film tends to gloss over large sections of her life, without giving viewers an understanding of their significance. Even more annoyingly, given that its musical focus, it is largely lacking in concert footage.
For example, although the film mentions Smith's friendship with Robert Mapplethorpe, it fails to delve into what influence he might have had on Smith's artistry. Given that this case represented two of the major artists of the twentieth century living together, one would have thought this would merit a sustained discussion.
The lack of musical footage is also glaring. In the end, we are interested in Smith not because of her life or opinions, but because of her music. That should have been a far greater element within the piece.
Ultimately, those who want to learn more about Patti Smith would be better off seeking out her memoir, or finding a good interview with her.
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