A look at the life and music of legendary singer and civil rights activist, Mavis Staples.


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  • ★★★★ review by Jason Bailey on Letterboxd

    "I'll stop singin' when I have nothin' left to say," insists Mavis Staples early in Jessica Edwards' delightful documentary, and by all indications, that won't happen anytime soon. She's been doing it for over six decades, as part of the Staple Singers and on her own, riding a tide from gospel to folk to soul to rock to "Americana," and that journey is the primary concern here; her personal life is given rather short shrift, but that's a minor complaint for a film as high-spirited and good humored as this one. Staples is a wonderful storyteller (with killer comic timing), and her remembrances are supplemented by observers, home movies, and killer archival footage. She's a force of nature—a remarkable artist, paid appropriate due by this moving and entertaining picture.

  • ★★★½ review by Ken Rudolph on Letterboxd

    Somehow I missed knowing much about Mavis Staples, youngest member of the Staples Singers, a family singing group that bridged the genres of gospel and blues in the decades following the late 1950s. From watching this entertaining bio documentary, I'm sorry I missed out. Mavis does intersect with some more famous stars in the film: Dylan, Bonnie Raitt, The Band, Prince. However, the revelations about her innovative guitar/singer dad, Pops Staples, and Mavis's recent career resurgence in her 70s make some very entertaining viewing.

  • ★★★★ review by TomerCoop on Letterboxd

    Finally a good and decent documentary about Mavis Staples. It was a lovely film. Not very long, jumped between the early days with The Staple Singers and Mavis today, and was interesting, fun, and emotional when needed.

    Mavis is an inspiration. Doing what she doing today, it's just beautiful. It was really cool seeing her from "behind the scenes", telling stories of the past and present. Including the close connection she had with her dad, Roebuck "Pops" Staples, who really made her what she is today.

    Also there's a lot of Jeff Tweedy in it and the work of them together in the latest two albums of Mavis that Tweedy produced (and I just love). They appreciate eachother so much, so nice to watch. And also the movie got some cool side-stories with Mavis and Prince, Dylan and more people from past 'till today.

    "Mavis!" is a small beautiful film about a gigantic beautiful soul. Recommend to every fan of Mavis/Staple Singers, soul music, or just music or film lovers in general.

  • ★★★½ review by C.J. on Letterboxd

    It's funny how, days earlier, I shut off The Wrecking Crew partway through because I couldn't stand its shoddy, generic form. Yet I completely enjoyed Mavis!.

    I think it has to do with how Wrecking Crew frames itself as this mind blowing secret (in all likelihood it was because of how poorly made it was). Mavis!, on the other hand, is really just showing you how Mavis Staples is a great singer and person. It's fun and optimistic. It won me over. Simple as that.

  • ★★★★ review by Sean Kelly on Letterboxd

    A biography that is sure to please audiences.

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