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Film Review: Elegy for a Southern Boy in ‘Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me’

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Average: 5 (1 vote)

CHICAGO – Glen Campbell, the singer, actor and personality, is ingrained into a certain late 1960s/early ‘70s ethos. His sunny disposition and clean pop music rhetoric crossed over from country to the mainstream, and in that other era he could seriously call his television show “The Glen Campbell Goodtime Hour.” Today, he fights a losing battle against Alzheimer’s Disease in the emotional documentary, “Glen Campbell, I’ll Be Me.”

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The title refers to an off-handed remark that Campbell makes, when he watching old home movies about his life. This is a memory test to exercise the shrinking portions of his brains due to the degenerative disease, and when Campbell assigns roles to the people in the films, he concludes “I’ll be me.” The film is often a frustrating document about Campbell’s journey, as the camera is privy to the most intimate sadnesses in living with the insidious disease. We are witnesses to Glen Campbell’s step-by-step path to the good night, and despite all the privilege of his success, it cannot be reversed.

The Southern boy from Delight, Arkansas, made good in several ways during his show business career. He was one of the most sought after “sessions” men – backup instrumental and vocalist to the stars – because of his virtuoso guitar riffs and plain speaking singing voice. After stints with The Beach Boys, among other work, he spun off as a solo act, which began a string of hits including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix,” “Gentle on My Mind,” “Wichita Lineman,” “Galveston” and his signature “Rhinestone Cowboy.”

The diagnosis of Alzheimer’s Disease comes early in the documentary. It’s right before his last album is to be released, because his wife Kim and daughter/band mate Ashley realized that sometime was amiss. The rest of the film documents two treks – the one of Glen Campbell’s farewell tour in 2011-12 and that of his slide into the recesses of his disease.

”Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me” continues its limited release in Chicago on November 7th. See local listings for theaters and show times. Featuring Glen Campbell, Kim Campbell, Ashley Campbell, and appearances by Jay Leno, Paul McCartney, Johnny Carson, Bruce Springsteen, Brad Paisey, Keith Urban, Jimmy Webb and Sheryl Crow. Directed by James Keach. Rated “PG

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”

Glen Campbell
Then and Now in ‘Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me’
Photo credit: Area 23a

StarContinue reading for Patrick McDonald’s full review of “Glen Campbell: I’ll Be Me”

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