7.6/10
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Charles Bradley: Soul of America (2012)

The incredible rise of 62-year-old aspiring soul singer Charles Bradley, whose debut album rocketed him from a hard life in the Brooklyn Housing Projects to Rolling Stone Magazine's top 50 albums of 2011.

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Alex Everett
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Jonny Santos
Damani H. Young
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Storyline

Starting off on his 62nd birthday, Charles Bradley: Soul of America follows the extraordinary journey of singer Charles Bradley during the electrifying and transformative months leading up to the release of his debut album "No Time for Dreaming." The 74-minute documentary feature will premiere at the SXSW 2012 Film Festival in Austin, Texas. Despite being abandoned as a child, a period of homelessness, the devastating loss of his brother and constant poverty, Charles never gave up on his life long dream to be a professional singer. With the help of producer and Grammy-winner Gabriel Roth (Daptone Records) and musician Tommy Brenneck, Charles moved away from the James Brown covers he'd been performing for nearly half a century and focused on finding his own unique voice. Earning himself an opening spot on tour for Sharon Jones, the biggest artist in the Daptone stable, Charles delivered the most impassioned performances of his life. Coming up during one of the worst economic downturns ... Written by Poull Brien

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From the Projects to the Pages of Rolling Stone.


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9 March 2012 (USA)  »

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Did You Know?

Soundtracks

Bushwick Lullaby
Written by Thomas R. Brenneck, David Guy, Leon Michels & Nick Movshon
Performed by Charles Bradley featuring Menahan Street Band
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User Reviews

 
If you liked Sugar man you'll love Charles Bradley too.
4 May 2013 | by (United Kingdom) – See all my reviews

I came across this movie almost by accident, the poster art seemed fairly uninspiring and I'd certainly not heard of Charley Bradley. The movie opens and I'm wondering if this a mockumentary like Spinal tap about a James Brown impersonator? But as the story unfolds you release there is a whole deeper dimension to the film and indeed Charles Bradley.

Charles is an instantly likable man and the movie chronicles his journey from living in the projects, working as a James Brown impersonator to his debut on stage as himself. Something which he himself finds hard to do after so many years of performing as the Godfather of Soul. Charles is a tour-de-force in himself. He is not James Brown, but his own man and a deeply moving artist in his own right.

The documentary lets us discover who Charles is, where he lives, what his life is and what his dreams are. At it's heart it's a simple story about a struggling singer looking to make it big. But what makes the movie amazing is Charles. A man with a wonderful heart full of love and pain. Charles isn't a polished act or pop idol wannabe, he's a man in his 60's who has had a hard life but hasn't given up on his dream. The movie gives us an insight into how hard things are for some in America, when Charles sings "why is it so hard to make it in America?" you can't help but be moved.

By the end of the movie you will genuinely be touched by the mans struggle and be rooting for him to succeed.


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