This powerful portrait of the life and career of great American music icon Glen Campbell opens to the viewer the world of the singular talent who created hits like Rhinestone Cowboy, Wichita Lineman and Gentle on My Mind. Glen won the Grammy for Lifetime Achievement and is a member of the Country Music Hall of Fame. In 2011, when Campbell was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, he joined forces with his family to fight the biggest battle of his life. Glen and his wife, Kim, made history by going public with the diagnosis - the first time a major American celebrity would share this experience with the world. The Campbell family then embarked on a short "Goodbye Tour," but the three-week engagement turned into an emotional and triumphant 151-show nationwide tour de force. This epic human drama about the undying bond between Glen and Kim, and their unwavering caring for each other, chronicles a story of love, resilience and the power of song. GLEN CAMPBELL...I'LL BE ME is the true tale ... Written by
This documentary follows Glenn Campbell on his last tour, as he deals with the effects of Alzheimer's. It's an absolutely fascinating documentary. In spite of the depressing subject matter, Campbell is funny and charming and he and his family are so likable that it's far more entertaining than you might expect. This is not to say it doesn't get awfully sad - you do see the disease progress and that can be hard to take - but overall it's a pretty positive movie even though it's dealing with something so grim.
There are a lot of interesting things in the film. I was fascinated by Campbell acting as though being unable to recall who the first president was his own decision - that he'd just tossed out extraneous information. It's amazing how well he was able to perform even as lost the ability to find his own bathroom. The family does a good job of dealing with Campbell; they're very nice (and strikingly attractive) and you feel really bad for them.
Unfortunately, some misguided choices keep this from being as good as it could have been. A big problem is a section in the middle in which a bunch of politicians blather on about how important a problem is, one of a number of times where the movie's advocacy goal played out in ham-handed tediousness. Even though the movie kills its own momentum in the middle though, it manages to get it back again.
There is also a monologue by the wife that is surprisingly defensive, since in the movie no one is criticizing her for taking Glenn on tour. I saw a premier with the filmmakers, the wife and daughter, and the wife said there were critics of the plan in the family, and I don't know why the movie didn't show that (or didn't get a less defensive monologue that wouldn't suggest there was more to the story than you'd seen).
Some things feel a little extraneous. There are brief chats with celebrities about how cool Glenn is that often seem pointless (although some, like Bruce Springstein, did have something worthwhile to say). Glenn's security head also seems poorly integrated into the story. And there are clips of a young Campbell that in some cases work and in some don't.
While it's clearly not the work of a truly masterful documentarian, it is still entertaining and powerful and well worth watching. I just wish an editor with better instincts could fix the weak parts. It's good, but with a few changes here and there it could be great.
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