Dallas International Film Festival Review: Miss Sharon Jones!

Dallas International Film Festival Review: Miss Sharon Jones!

I have often said that there are two types of documentaries: the kind with a preconceived agenda and the kind that relies on the unpredictability of human life. While “The Pursuit of Silence” was certainly a well-executed example of the former, “Miss Sharon Jones!” falls under the category of the latter.

If you could try and imagine a modern-day, female-encompassed version of James Brown, you might discover Sharon Jones as an acceptable substitution. Like most musicians, she has been practicing for the big show all of her life, but UN-like many, celebrated musicians, her arrival has come at a much later time in her life. You might conclude that because she had to work harder and for a longer period of time to get where she has reached, that Sharon Jones would be more determined than almost anybody to stay where she is AND you would be correct. However, nothing could have prepared her, fully, for the challenge that faced her just 3 and a ½ years ago: the big “c” word. The one we would all presume to hear, but would rather pretend that it may never come about in our own lives…

When Sharon Jones embarked on her battle with cancer, it was, indeed, her optimistic persona and inner strength, which prevailed over every obstacle: from the financial shortcomings and pressure from the rest of her band (The Dap-Kings) to perform for ALL of them to survive, to the emotional connection of her mother’s passing, just several years earlier. Whichever ordeal happened to be in front of her, she leaned on her faith in God (through Jesus Christ) and her embattled experiences to not only recover from the illness, but to come away from it all with an even stronger outlook and an even clearer image of what she ought to be thankful for.

The music IS, needless to say, stunning and the way it is played, throughout the film, is nothing short of miraculous. Some moments, given the scope of what has transpired from one scene to the next, create a rather powerful and emotional connection between the subject and the audience. This is something that makes “Miss Sharon Jones!” a special movie. It does NOT feel like a film, at all. Instead, it feels very much like a personal, one-on-one conversation with a genuinely awesome and inspiring individual. You should experience every emotion imaginable, which she, too, is experiencing, IF you invest yourself in the story, which is 100% real. Sadly, Sharon Jones has regressed with a new bout of cancer, as recently as October of last year. My prayers go with her.


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