Last week I told you about the controversy surrounding advertising for Shut Up & Sing, the new documentary about the Dixie Chicks’ criticism of George W. Bush and what it cost them. After seeing the film this weekend, I can’t recommend it highly enough.
It shows the Chicks pre-scandal and absolutely dominating the music industry, then shows footage of front woman Natalie Maines uttering the fateful words onstage at a show in the UK in 2003. From there, the film follows them as they recuperate both personally and professionally from being rejected by country radio stations, losing fans and sales, and receiving death threats.
Call me an old-school lesbian feminist, but I thought the best part of this film was the sisterhood factor. Maines is clearly the most mouthy and opinionated in the group, but her band mates (actual sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire) stay right by her side and shoulder equal responsibility for the fallout. In fact, watching the obviously more cautious and reserved sisters blossom and find new bravery in themselves via this test is very moving.
But Natalie Maines is the pounding heart of the film. Unrepentant, brazen and absolutely unwilling to place commerce above conscience, she is a force of nature, the kind of woman many of us strive to be (or date). I guarantee that after you see this film you will want run to your local music store and purchase the Chicks’ new CD Taking the Long Way.
I wish Natalie’s name had been on a ballot somewhere yesterday. Maybe in 2008?