(2010)

Critic Reviews

77

Metascore

Based on 11 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
91
This unsentimental, smartly assembled film is equally attentive to the cacophony of African poverty and the balm of harmony provided by these pied pipers of hope.
90
Village Voice
But real-life hard-knock plot twists, as well as some tweaking of form (there's no narrator or voiceover of any kind; the film's subjects outline their grim realities largely through their rhythmically upbeat songs) make the film absolutely riveting, as does the fiercely rousing music.
90
Benda Bilili! is brutally real, a document of willpower that shows not only the magic of transcendence - which may be fleeting - but also the transformation of aspiring to it, every struggling step of the way.
90
Benda Bilili! earns its exclamation point. It's a feel-good movie that actually makes you feel good, a story that will have you shaking your head in astonishment and moving your feet to some unstoppable rhythms.
80
Wielding inspiration and uplift in equal measure, this musical odyssey is one of the cinematic journeys of the year. Don't miss it.
80
The Hollywood Reporter
Most magically, if one were to listen to their music but not know anything about their heart-wrenching situation, their compositions sound as if they've come from the luckiest and happiest performers in the world.
75
An unabashed crowd-pleaser.
70
Audiences will find the group's triumph inspiring.
63
Slant Magazine
The film's inquiry into the artistic method remains somewhat at the superficial level, but the directors do a fine job of emphasizing both the circumstances that lead to the music's creation and the satisfying result of the irrepressible sounds.
40
It may be petty to dismiss such a rags-to-much-better-rags story, but given how manipulatively constructed this music doc is, even in its rawest moments, you still leave feeling like you've been played.

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