This music-bio focuses on American singer Jeff Buckley coming to New York in 1991 to perform at a concert tribute to his late father (Tim Buckley) who died of a heroin overdose in 1975 at 28 years of age.
The film is not about Jeff Buckley’s whole life; rather, the key concert he reluctantly took part in before he became famous.
Director Daniel Agrant uses flashbacks to switch between the lives of the father and son and their respective musical journeys, highlighting the conflicting moments in Tim Buckley’s life.
The concert location of the Brooklyn church is powerful with the light and darkness it harbours reflecting the intricate emotions of the story.
Penn Badgley—better known for his role as Dan Humphrey in Gossip Girl—is brilliant as Jeff. He performed all the songs live and clearly worked hard to try and reach Buckley’s famous falsetto. A memorable scene where Badgely imitates rock legends at a record store, including Led Zepplin, is wonderful.
While at the concert, Jeff meets Allie (Imogen Poot) who’s in charge of showing him around and ends up following him to some of his father’s former hangouts.
The highlight of the film is the night of the concert where Jeff—who never knew his father—pays tribute to him in song.
The ending is poignant and heartfelt as the audience already knows how Jeff’s story ends—an accidental drowning death in 1997, at age 30.
This sense of loss is felt when he sings Tim Buckey’s Once I Was. His guitar string breaks and Jeff’s a cappella shines, showing the great artist he would become.
by Isabella Pittaway
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