Critic Reviews



Based on 6 critic reviews provided by
Unlike most rock docs, “Life in 12 Bars” isn’t a look back from a distance. It’s like living through one man’s pain.
The film does a good job conveying the excitement generated by that band as a live act, especially in San Francisco and Los Angeles. But though it produced some remarkable music, Cream’s success was short-lived.
As absorbing as much of this material is, the lengthy feature does not feel definitive: It commits the typical music-doc sin of devoting nearly all its time to a celebrated first professional decade, then hastily skimming past all events since.
As a musical biography, this comes up short; it plays substantially better as a story of recovery and recovered integrity.
The film's title promises a story told with the tidy structure of the blues. (Either that, or it's a bad joke about Clapton's long struggle with alcoholism.) But Life proves weirdly assembled, with counterintuitive emphases.
Time Out
Clapton has led a fascinating life, and is a contradictory and inspiring figure. Save for a few moments, this film just doesn’t serve him well enough.

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