may it last avett brothers review 3Year: 2017
Director(s): Judd Apatow, Michael Bonfiglio
Writer(s): n/a
Region of Origin: US

Rating: Unrated
Color, 104 mins

Synopsis: An intimate documentary following acclaimed North Carolina band the Avett Brothers, as they create their 2016 hit album True Sadness. (Source)

The Everly Brothers, The Kinks, The Bee Gees, Creedence, Oasis, the list goes on. Among other things, each of these iconic bands have taught us that family and music are rarely good bedfellows – then there’s the exception to the rule, Concord, North Carolina’s The Avett Brothers. Over the better part of a decade, Scott and Seth Avett have forged a fruitful collaboration that only continues to deepen with each new album. With May it Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers, directors Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio provide unprecedented access to the neo folk act, chronicling their humble roots and the struggles that coincided with the creation of their latest album, True Sadness. Lined with tons of performances, including intimate renditions of works in progress, May it Last is a stirring portrait of family, art and the love that binds both.

It’s immediately noticeable that this is no ordinary music doc. There is plenty of music, but what shines is an honest reflection of the Avett’s and their humble views on life and loyalty transformed into song. These are two truly fascinating people with a genuine desire to share their gift with those around them. Apatow and Bongfiglio’s fly-on-the-wall approach is never intrusive, but rather as earnest and sincere as the brothers themselves. Those not already acquainted with the duo will understand who they are and where they’ve come from by the film’s end. Through it all, we get to see how their journey to fame has only helped to ground them even more. As the film’s title suggests, the Avett’s search for the ultimate song is unwittingly a journey to truth and legacy, one found in a connection between the band and their fans.

may it last avett brothers review 2The film is also a great reminder that songs are much more than fleeting melodies. It’s easy to take a song for granted, enjoy its completed form and never think twice about what allowed it to be. What Apatow and Bonfiglio present here, are the desires, hopes dreams that turn a simple lyric or chord progression into a living breathing vessel of emotion. As Scott, Seth and fellow bandmates Bob Crawford and Joe Kwon illustrate, a song is actually someone’s story, a piece of themselves immortalized forever and always ready to find new life in the ears of every listener. You don’t get an album named True Sadness from nowhere, but even as Scott, Seth and crew weather divorce, fatherhood, illness and more, their resolve makes for an album that finds strength and beauty in pain.

The Avett’s may not fall into the mold of self destructive rockstars, but there’s something empowering about their laid-back, sweet natured demeanors. In that respect, May it Last is more universal than it seems. On surface, the film is fascinating insight into the making of a record (including cameos from mega producer Rick Rubin and more), but what resonates is Apatow and Bonfiglio’s look at family and loyalty. The entire thing culminates with a captivating performance of the Avett’s “No Hard Feelings”, a rush of emotion that’s at once pensive, lined with grace and packed with enough heart and soul for days.

SG