Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes
Standing in the Shadows of Motown is one hell of a party, and it doesn't let anything get in the way of that.
You may not end up dancing in the street, but don't be surprised if you cut a step or two in the parking lot.
After watching it, you can only love the players it brings to the fore for the gifted but no-nonsense human beings they are and for the still-inestimable contribution they have made to our shared history.
Much of the movie's value is to document these particular players making beautiful music.
New York Times:
This salute to the literally unsung and underrecognized studio heroes of Motown is so good because it is one of those rare documentaries that combine information with smashing entertainment.
Los Angeles Times:
Gives the Funk Brothers their due and more, mostly through wonderfully juicy anecdotes.
The movie lets us realize this Sound, still so alive and vibrant today, was created by flesh-and-blood people, each of whom has a compelling story to tell.
It's a revelatory aural journey that gets you to hear something you've always known without quite realizing it: that the magic of the Motown sound was, quite literally, its sound, which the Funk Brothers created.
Dallas Morning News:
The sheer joy and pride they took in their work -- and in each other -- shines through every frame.
The film's energy is primarily due to the rich storytelling skills of the musicians, who trot out anecdotes and memories filled with humor and wry philosophizing.
Told in scattered fashion, the movie only intermittently lives up to the stories and faces and music of the men who are its subject.
San Francisco Chronicle:
When the old guys sit around and tell their stories, Standing in the Shadows of Motown catches magic on the screen -- a behind-the-curtain peek at some of the world's best-loved music, straight from the cats who made it happen.
Try as you might to resist, if you've got a place in your heart for Smokey Robinson, this movie will worm its way there.
Justman's affectionate doc provides the pleasure of hearing one classic pop hook after another performed by a still tight unit, as well as the spectacle of veteran sidemen sitting around talking music.