8 of of 10 stars. - Film Threat
"Then we are introduced to the music, and the music is good, no it’s great. You may not be a fan of folk, but its sound is instantly captivating, melodic, and complex. Magic Music were five strangers who met on a university campus’ free-speech courtyard and just began to jam together. Their music leads with strong lyrics of peace and protests for its time, created the beautiful blending of the fiddle, mandolin, banjo, guitar, bass, and haunting vocals. This band that loved to perform and they became close friends fast. So much so they lived together in a van during the cold Colorado winters....
Today, shelves are lined with documentaries about band breakups and awkward reunions. If there was one reason to see 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie is for its music. Constantly playing in the background, you’ll find an appreciation for how good this band was, how a band this good could never find success, and how the group’s dynamic tore it down. Although, by the end, you’ll conclude that maybe these guys were better off never making it.
But there are still more reasons to keep watching. Music aside, 40 Years in the Making: The Magic Music Movie is a story of forgiveness and camaraderie. The road to forgiveness was not easy. There are still hard and painful feelings, but at some point, everyone needs to let go of the past and move on. While serving as a nostalgia piece, this is a sentimental film for Aronsohn, and you can see his pride at the end of not just the final film, but in pushing a few members of Magic Music to talk to one another.
Aronsohn brings a great deal of production value to his doc. It’s beautiful to watch. Let’s face it, Colorado is a beautiful state (and I’m from California). He effectively contrasts the 60’s landscape with Colorado today. He makes effective use of what little archival footage and photos he had and created the moving photos, we see so much in docs today. He moves effortlessly from one chapter to the next, never overstaying his welcome."
Read Alan Ng's entire review at Film Threat.