May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers

From longtime fans Judd Apatow and Michael Bonfiglio and filmed with extraordinary access over the course of more than two years, MAY IT LAST is an intimate portrait of the acclaimed North Carolina band The Avett Brothers, charting their decade-and-a- half rise, while chronicling their present-day collaboration with famed producer Rick Rubin on the multi-Grammy-nominated album "True Sadness," which was released on American Recordings/Republic Records. With the recording process as a backdrop, the film depicts a lifelong bond and unique creative partnership, as band members undergo marriage, divorce, parenthood, illness, and the challenges of the music business. More than just a music documentary, MAY IT LAST is a meditation on family, love, and the passage of time.


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  • ★★★★ review by Eric Johnson on Letterboxd

    At one point in time (probably during college), my answer to "What is your favorite band?" was the Avett Brothers. Their passion and vulnerability in their songwriting/bluegrass-esque picking met me where I was. They felt genuine and raw in their vigor.

    Then they signed with Rick Rubin and added drums.

    Since then, I've picked up their albums upon release and would find glimpses of that authentic, less-produced sound. Hearing that this documentary revolved around the making of their most recent album True Sadness, which I had listened to and quickly moved on from, I was not eagerly anticipating viewing it. I'm very glad I did.

    Even if stylistically this documentary didn't make new ground, it shone a light on how artists can reach in deep and bring out new beauty. Seeing the creation process of "I Wish I Was" really blew me away. If anything, years from now I will appreciate this documentary for making me give that beautiful tune a second (and third and fourth...) listen.

    Similar to The Work from earlier this year, documentaries that are filming in the moment (meaning that the subjects know that they're being filmed specifically for a film's purpose) sometimes makes me pause and unfortunately question some of the authenticity of what I'm seeing filmed. However, based on the awkwardness that unfolds when members remember that there are third-parties present, that feeling drifted away especially as the film floated to its conclusion with the recording of "No Hard Feelings." I've seen the Avett Brothers act in a skit on Jimmy Kimmel; the brothers' words and drained emotions after recording that song were not put upon.

    I still miss hearing full records of the old Avett sound and seeing their super-produced, trendy-dressed MSG performance of "Ain't No Man," their first ever "hit" song, right after the powerful "No Hard Feelings" recording left me sullen a bit.

  • ★★★★★ review by Matías Franco on Letterboxd

    My heart is so full

  • ★★★★ review by nikobiko on Letterboxd

    Most times I wish I could feel feelings more than I do. I think this is a pretty good substitute for feeling more feelings.

  • ★★★★ review by Tom Zavertnik on Letterboxd

    May It Last: A Portrait of the Avett Brothers. Directed by Judd Apatow (Knocked Up, The 40-Year Old Virgin, Trainwreck) and Michael Bonfiglio (From The Ashes, Doc & Darryl, Crude) comes a documentary about the American folk band, The Avett Brothers. I have never listened to The Avett Brothers before so this was a completely new ground for me in terms of what to expect. And I'm glad I went to see this documentary at a one night only screening, because this is a documentary that has a lot of emotion and soul behind it.

    Apatow and Bonfiglio, tell this story about The Avett Brothers in a very conventional, yet effective way. All the shots and parts of the documentary felt very focused and added to the overall feel. Most documentaries strafe far from the main point but May It Last really stuck with its material.

    You really get a feel for how human and proud The Avett Brothers are as a band and as individuals. There are moments when the documentary will start to dip into how they create their songs and its truly great to see how the brothers are able to create such wonderful music without getting into a fit. Other bands that include brothers, there is always fighting but here you can see how much they care and reflect on each other how important everyone and their ideas are to the band.

    Thank you Judd and Michael, for The Avett Brothers are a really unique folk band and I never would have found them without you guys.

  • ★★★★★ review by Christian Tloczynski on Letterboxd

    Documentary about my favorite band, which just happens to be made up of a group of genuinely good people, and that I’ve seen over dozen times live, so of course I loved this.

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