100

Chicago Tribune

By Michael Phillips
Yes, for every star there are five more also-rans and maybe-next-times. But there is honor and glory in being part of the blend. And, at the film's midpoint, when Clayton talks about the late-night recording session in 1969 of "Gimme Shelter," the memory takes on the glow of myth.
Full Review
100

Boston Globe

By Ty Burr
20 Feet From Stardom may possibly be the happiest time you’ll have at the movies all summer, but it comes with a heavy load of frustration. The joy...is in the sound of women singing their big, beautiful hearts out. The pain comes from the anonymity they’ve spent their lives working under and fighting against.
Full Review
90

The Hollywood Reporter

Neville unearths a treasure trove of archival TV, concert and film footage featuring many of these vocalists in their heyday, balancing the material with perfectly-lit contemporary studio interviews and performances shot in pristine digital cinematography, supplemented by more informal scenes depicting the frequent challenges of these musicians' careers.
Full Review
90

Los Angeles Times

By Kenneth Turan
A moving and joyous behind-the-scenes documentary about a world filled with big, bold personalities and the music they make.
Full Review
88

Rolling Stone

By Peter Travers
Sometimes it's racism; sometimes bum luck; sometimes it's producer Phil Spector putting Love's voice in another singer's mouth. You watch. You hear the gospel spoken in the voices of these women. And you marvel.
Full Review
88

Chicago Sun-Times

From front to back stage, 20 Feet From Stardom is a compelling look at the spirit of these giving artists as they navigated the rapid musical and social change of the 1960s, ’70s and ’80s.
Full Review
88

USA Today

By Claudia Puig
Audiences meet the most memorable voices in the world of backup singers. They perform with world-famous musical acts, but theirs are not household names. Their stories, however, are inspiring, heartbreaking and enthralling.
Full Review
85

Film.com

By William Goss
A well-polished production with a remarkable soundtrack.
Full Review
80

Village Voice

By Ernest Hardy
It does what the most powerful films and music have always done, which is to spark contemplation of our own lives and choices, and our place in the world, while also stoking compassion and empathy for lives far removed from our own.
Full Review
80

Variety

By Peter Debruge
For most of its running time, this personality-packed docu is nothing short of absorbing as it recaps the essential role African-American background singers played in shaping the sound of 20th-century pop music.
Full Review
83 out of 100
Universal acclaim
Metascore® based on all critic reviews. Scores range from 0 to 100, with higher scores indicating more favorable reviews.