David Crosby: Remember My Name
(USA, 95 min.)
Dir. AJ Eaton
Rock and roll biopics often lean towards the hagiographic or, worse, milquetoast while providing pat stories of success or recovery that are little more than self-serving commercials. To the immense credit of filmmaker and subject alike, David Crosby: Remember My Name tries valiantly to avoid these pitfalls. Director A.J. Eaton tasks Crosby’s long-time friend Cameron Crowe (a producer on the film) to do the interviews, resulting in some true soul searching from the aging legend looking back on his varied career.
The most telling realization by Crosby is that maybe he’s the asshole, not the hero, of his story – the collaborators closest to him have all actively shunned the man, and there seems to be a real sense that Crosby knows he has done them wrong. There are still moments of celebration, showing the varied periods of the artist’s life and how implausible it is that he’s still around to perform.
From helping to discover Joni Mitchel to his struggles with addiction and the loss of past loves, there’s an obvious wistfulness at play. Yet throughout the film, Crosby refuses to play victim and takes responsibility where required. He reflects on a life that has been rewarding but damaging at same time. It’s a refreshingly honest look only slightly glazed by nostalgia, and with Crowe’s prodding and Crosby’s piercing responses, we’re treated to a rock-doc like few others.
Reviewed at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival.
David Crosby: Remember My Name opens in Toronto at the Hot Docs Red Rogers Cinema on August 2.