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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Documentary
This is a sensitive and beautifully made documentary that I recommend highly.
Joni is one of my favorite musicians. I have been listening to her on a regular basis for over 30 years. As a result, my expectations for this kind of film were high, and overall I was pleased with what I saw.
By far the most appealling part of this documentatary is the wonderful...
Published on November 13, 2003 by Charlie Calvert

versus
15 of 38 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars clips clips....... just clips
when you look at the track listing,how can you not you buy this dvd?However when you pop it in,it doesnt take long to find out,that its just a collection of clips,no complete songs.This dvd could have been amazing with the amount of material they have. However they chose to show 10 second clip of great song,interrupted by bald rock n roll critic explaining me the...
Published on September 19, 2004 by C. Tenpenny


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77 of 78 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Documentary, November 13, 2003
By 
Charlie Calvert "charliecal" (Bellevue, WA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
This is a sensitive and beautifully made documentary that I recommend highly.
Joni is one of my favorite musicians. I have been listening to her on a regular basis for over 30 years. As a result, my expectations for this kind of film were high, and overall I was pleased with what I saw.
By far the most appealling part of this documentatary is the wonderful archival footage of a young Joni doing a number of her great early songs. This material simply shimmers with an almost other worldly glow. The retelling of the writing of her song Woodstock all but had me in tears, it was so moving and evocative.
The commentary by people who knew her well, such as David Crosby, Graham Nash, David Geffin, and others, is thoughtful and very enlightening. Recent footage from an interview with Joni herself is also very engaging.
Ultimately I would like to read a really long, really thorough biography that would explain all the complicated details that make up this extraordinary woman's life. There just wasn't enough room to dig into some of the most interesting transitions in her complicated life in this beautifully made, two hour long film. I still hunger for more information.
Joni is such an intelligent woman, and many of the decisions in her later life would make interesting material for a more in depth exploration. Her relationship to jazz, the development of breakthrough albums such as Hejira and Mingus, her personal thoughts on other musicians, etc. All of this would be interesting to read about in more depth.
But one needs to recoginize the limitations of the genre. You can only do so much in a documentary film. And certainly one understands why there was so much focus on her early career, given the almost transcendent power of the early archival footage. The early Joni was a being from another planet, or some parallel idealized universe, almost impossibly beautiful and talented. Given the nature of this early footage, it is easy to forget that she became more interesting as she grew older.
Overally, this is excellent work, a must see for any one who really loves Joni's work and wants to know more about her.
(If one gives every film that one really likes 5 stars, then how can you highlight those truly stellar films that all but change our lives. This is a great film, but I can only bring myself to give it 4 stars. It's very good, but it's not a Bergman or Fellini film.)
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50 of 51 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An Entertaining Biography, June 24, 2003
By 
Michael King "Mike" (Taunton, MA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
This DVD chronicles the life, loves and career of Joni Mitchell. She was very strong-willed, battling childhood polio and later teaching herself to play guitar. That combination of determination and talent helped her succeed in the male dominated world of folk music. To paraphrase her, she wanted to combine the melodicism of the big band era with the lyricism of Bob Dylan in the songs she wrote. She soon went from the coffee houses of Greenwich Village to Carnegie Hall. Ever the wandering spirit, she moved from New York to Laurel Canyon, LA, where she met and fell in love with Graham Nash. During that period, when they were living together, Graham wrote "Our House" and Joni wrote the album "Ladies Of The Canyon." That album included the official anthem to the sixties' most famous music festival, "Woodstock." Ironically, Joni was supposed to play at Woodstock, but her manager talked her out of it at the last minute.

The DVD goes on to chronicle Joni's musical journeys into pop ("You Turn Me On, I'm A Radio") rock and roll ("Raised On Robbery") and jazz ("Mingus"), a superb album that was savaged by the critics and ignored by the record buying public. Joni continued to release many fine albums throughout the eighties and nineties. Joni finally won a Grammy in 1996, when "Turbulent Indigo" won for best pop album. Unlike other music veterans who won Grammies late in their careers, Joni's win did not translate into huge records sales and lots of radio airplay. Nevertheless, this multi-talented artist continues to make great music. The DVD includes snippets of songs performed in various concerts throughout her entire career. A bonus section features four songs, taken from her 1998 video "Painting With Words And Music," in their entirety. The songs are "Big Yellow Taxi," "Amelia," "Hejira" and "Woodstock."
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46 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A woman with her own Mind, July 16, 2003
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
Few artists have been as hard to catagorize as Joni Mitchell. Emerging initially as a sensitive introspective folk singer from Canada to becoming a singer songwriter whose musical style crosses so many boarders as to becoming nearly unclassifiable, Mitchell has stubbornly followed her own creative path undeterred by trends or fashion. What sets her apart from so many of her contemporaries is her ability to expand, grow and remain viable in an industry not known for career longevity. When you consider the fate of so many of her contemporaries, drug addiction. creative sloth, death, rehab or becoming irrelevant oldies acts in far flung Casinos in the Southwest, Mitchell has overcome most, if not all, of those land mines. She, unlike so many who were there when she started, is still here and still making music.
For those who have wondered when Mitchell would get her just due, it seems that all of those years of stubbornly refusing to be completely controlled by the "Music Biz" have paid off in terms of honors, awards and now a DVD that chronicles her life.
Joni Mitchell A life Story: Woman of Heart and Mind from Eagle Vision gives her the royal treatment. Directed by Susan Lacy, the entire 120 minute documentary is much like Mitchell's work, personal, revealing, but decidedly artistic in it's aims. This is a point not lost on Lacy who allows Mitchell to tell her amazing story from her roots in a small town in Canada to being the consort, muse and inspiration for Crosby Stills Nash, and sometimes Young.
Told in chronological order, we learn of Mitchell's childhood bout with Polio and marriage to fellow singer Chuck Mitchell, who informed her shortly after their marriage he was not willing to be the father of "another man's child." Subsequently Mitchell's out of wed lock daughter by another man was given up for adoption and relocated many years later. Such personal revelations are not treated as "nasty gossip," but like Mitchells' own music, which treats life's difficulties directly and with a minimum of sentiment or self pity, told in a matter of fact tone without being self pitying. The documentary spends little time detailing Mitchell's love life and her many entanglements, but it does not completely shy away from the fact that she was leading life on her own terms and in her own way irrespective of "conventions."
The heart of Woman of Heart in Mind are the archival footage of Mitchell performing that give this film resonance. Liberally sprinkled throughout the bio are shots of Mitchell in concert and on television accompanied by herself on guitar. It is in concert giving such personal performances that one sees the real intimacy of her art form, and how well she is able to bring such personal songs to an audience without loss of potency or power. She truly emerges as mesmerizing on stage. That is a point not lost on David Crosby, who is largely credited for discovering her. Crosby briefly, but pointedly says," I had no idea there was anyone that good."
The truth of Mitchell's rise is more complex, and far more detailed. As part of a duo with her first husband, Chuck Mitchell, they leave Canada for Detroit Michigan. Once there, they become the gold couple of the Folk singer circle, with Mitchell emerging early as the more original of the two. As performers coming to the Motor City came and went, Mitchell's compositions were gaining the attention of the likes of Tom Rush and Buffy Saint Marie. As her reputation grew, her strained marriage fell apart and Mitchell relocated to New York. It is a point in her life told in the first song from her self titled debut release, Joni Mitchell.
Going on the road, literally alone, she booked her own shows and acted as her own agent. Such little known facts of her early career, and the enormous difficulties she faced, are carefully detailed, but without a note of self pity. After years of performing, Mitchell acquires an agent, supportive management and David Crosby's help in insuring that her music not be retrofitted to fit current styles when she hits the studios. From that point onward, Mitchell was in total and complete control of her musical odyssey.
While she was closely associated with Crosby Stills Nash and Young, it is not long before Mitchell creatively moves towards a hybrid of Folk, Jazz, Rock and Roll and Country and Western that sends her up the charts with such anthems as "Woodstock." Contrary to the myth that Mitchell attended that ultimate 60's concert in New York State, she was slated to appear, but was told not to for fear of losing an important television appearance on David Cavot's talk show. Lacy includes Mitchell on the show listening and putting on a convincing stiff upper lip as the CSN and Y excitedly talk about the atmosphere of Woodstock as Mitchell stoically listens. To hear Mitchell comment on the footage adds yet another personal layer to a life that is already rich and enduring.
The documentary contains vintage photos of Mitchell as a young girl and continues in chronological order as she started to work with such jazz titans as Charles Mingus, Jaco Pastorius, Wayne Shorter, Herby Hancock and Pat Metheny. While she maintained close ties to CSN and Y throughout her career, her musical identity was decidedly separate from theirs. So much so that when she hit the road to support the chart topping "Court and Spark," she toured with Tom Scott's L.A. Express. The resulting in concert release, Miles of Aisles, had a decidedly jazz feel.
Offering up a great deal of personal information, and some informative revelations from Mitchell herself, Woman of Heart and Mind is a compelling, exciting voyage through a life filled with amazing highs, terrifying lows and exhilarating inventive music. For Mitchell fans, this maybe an essential collectible. For those new to Mitchell, and those who are creative, this bio picture serves as an excellent primer on how to maintain artistic integrity without compromising your creativity in an essentially crass overly commercialized industry. Kudos to Director Lacy for preserving the legacy of Joni Mitchell without turning it into a lurid "Inside the Music" gossip fest. Told with attention to detail and her artisty, the DVD also includes extras, promos and out takes that are just as solid as the 120 documentary.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This may be Joni's finest song, April 29, 2005
By 
D. Webster (Falmouth, Maine) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
This is an essential dvd to own if the music has reached you.

When I first started listening to her music, nice songs were enough. It didn't take long to see that there was something else going on with her, an unprecidented honesty and seemingly fearless ability to press boundaries. This is a rare glimse into a powerful creative spirit, willing to pay the prices required to follow a difficult journey.

We see a young girl, striving for success and the opportunity to share her music, blossoming into the remarkable woman she is today. This dvd is a story of the journey, and invaluable to anyone looking for more depth than sound bites or "clips" to tap your toe to. As she states in the film, it was never her intention to be a human jukebox, and I'm certain not her intention to create a dvd which is nothing more than a trite collection of rock videos.

This should be required viewing for anyone who has ever wrestled with the creative process in any form. Genius achieving this kind of fruition does not happen very often, and there are few pieces of life as fascinating. It's also for anyone who cares about the idealism of days gone by, and holding onto the good. It seems strangely out of synch with the state of the world as it is today, and that's a shame. All the more reason why this is required fuel for people need to remain in that place.

Most artists whom we admire live their lives in obscurity. We know their stage presence, or see what their agents believe will encourage sales of the next cd, book or painting. Joni's career has been entirely different, and a window into her. Through each of her phases, I've loved what I've seen. This dvd pulls all of these pieces together and paints one of the most remarkable portraits I've ever seen.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Documentary of Substance, May 15, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
If you are a Joni Mitchell fan, or like me, a fanatic, this DVD is a must own. Stuffed with footage from her concerts, still photos, and interviews with those in the industry who know her best(Graham Nash, David Crosby, James Taylor to name a few), I found it to be very informative and it provided inside information that I had not read or heard anywhere else. Her music provides the backgdrop for the DVD and there was even some brief information about her adopted daughter and her painting. The grand dame is interviewed as well. I was mesmerized from start to finish.
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17 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Fantastic Bio for Newcomers and Old Joni Fans Alike., July 24, 2005
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
Upfront, I would just like to thank my friend Rob C. for reminding me of my roots by bringing me back to my once flaming fixation for Joni Mitchell, the artist and her music. I had forgotten how much her music meant to me as a teenager and all through my 20s as I learned to connect to the world in a more sensitive way through her interpretations of life and love. Mitchell is perhaps one of the greatest musical rebels of song with her "weird chords" which have since been imitated by many who followed in her footsteps. For years she has been hated by those who don't have a grasp on the intricacies of what it means to see and feel things on such an intimate and deeply artistic level that it comes out as something other than some cliched embodiment of crass commercialism--something that's so predictable and safe that it can be embraced as easily as a collection of Air Supply songs. This is too disposable for those who get Joni and, while not all of us long-time fans love all of her work, we can certainly all agree that disposable is not a term you can use to describe the lady's output.

I picked up my first Joni Mitchell album in November of 1980 at the age of 16. It was her very commercially successful jazz/folk album Court and Spark which was centered around her then flame, John Guerin. I fell in love with the album immediately, and began one of a few musical romances that have lasted roughly a quarter of a century. The more I got into her music, however, and the more of her phases I was exposed to, I found myself asking lots of questions about her muses and what I was unsure of in her lyrics. Now, whether you are a long-time fan of Joni's or just starting out, I feel that this biography is imperative to own, as it answers a lot of questions I've been asking for a very long time. It's like the unfinished portrait finally has a face, and it is a joyously flawed one that's beautiful for that very reason.

If you find that Joni's music speaks to you on a nearly cosmic level, then you will be ecstatic with this biography. You are given, by her, the missing pieces to the puzzle that weren't available in old biographical accounts, and you feel the love and respect of friends and peers alike as they reflect on their comraderie with her. You will come to feel you know her intimately yourself if her music hasn't done that already. If it has, and you've been away for a while, this DVD bio will reawaken that passionate intimacy in you again. I was fascinated by this poet whose hard times haven't hurt her amazingly graceful disposition, and have come to appreciate her as a genuine musical treasure people are blessed to be touched by if they get her and her music. Intelligent and well put together, this is a great DVD full of wonderful music (naturally), insightful interviews, and tons of Joni never being artificial or uneasy--except for her displeasure at playing for so many at the Isle of Wight festival, which was understandable for such an intimate performer. My only gripe is that none of the songs from "Hissing of Summer Lawns" was included, but that's okay. It's such a small oversight for so much wonderful material. The Bonus features are also quite excellent. One final note: I am so glad that, after that jerk Chuck Mitchell manipulated her, she finally found her daughter and grandchildren! Joni is a one of a kind natural talent, and you will not regret owning this engrossing DVD; it's some of the best 2-plus hours you will ever spend in front of your TV.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A must-have for any fan of the human spirit., December 24, 2004
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
I never knew the "whole story" behind Joni Mitchell and seeing it here has made me want to sing her praises from every rooftop! While I own just a few Joni Mitchell recordings, I have always felt connected to the artist. This DVD explains why.

This is the story of an independent spirit, heartfelt mind and courageous idealist. This reveals what lies behind the most artistically diverse female to date. Her willingness to share her soul so that we might share our own is beyond commendable. Her passion to be true to herself and to her fans makes her an artist beyond others.

Once you see the DVD you will understand her PROCESS like never before. You will also hear the most adulated artists admit that her self-taught writing, singing and musical abilities put them all to shame. Joni Mitchell shared her gift, in it's entirety, with the world. She was honest and steadfast in her pursuit and never sold out to marketing nor crumbled under mainstream critique.

Kudos to all involved with this DVD as the documentary is masterfully interwoven with the artist's discography. By the time it ends you will know her inside and out. I very much disagree with the writer who claims the songs are never complete, in fact, I would say that this DVD makes the songs even more complete.

A must-have for any Joni Mitchell fan and a must have for any fan of the musician-documentary genre as this is the finest I have seen. Add to that a must-have for fans of the human spirit.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A biassed opinion, November 3, 2004
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This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story

Regarding this movie and it's relationship to Joni's music: Collin's comment's above are true, but any Joni Mitchell fan worth their salt knows the songs by heart and doesn't really need the full cut to appreciate the emotion her music always produces and to experience a profound appreciation of her art. I never felt a need to explore in-depth the source of her inspirations, since her music is so articulate at telling us that story. I saw this documentary for the first time just the other day and my friend and I, both burly 60s guys, musicians and long time fans, watched with tears in our eyes at the sheer poignancy and beauty of Joni the musician and incredible human being, and the story of how her music evolved. Sure there were flaws but those who love her will be overwhelmed by this film. Anyone who doesn't like this bio has gotten so jaded by life that they really ought to go listen to some of Joni's CDs to be reminded of what life is really all about at it's deepest level.

James Wolfgram

Silver City, NM
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Floored me too, April 10, 2005
This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
When I was 19 in 1996 I bought Hejira after watching Roger Water's 'The Wall: Live in Berlin' I remember thinking: who is that curious looking woman there... and what is her name? That was when I found out about Joni Mitchell. It's taken me many years for me to arrive - on so many levels - at the brilliance of this woman and her work. Somebody told me last year that they thought I'd like 'Blue', and sure I enough I did - in fact it hardly left my cd player for some time. Now I've just watched this DVD and I am even more captivated. I understand wanting to see more of the archival footage (a second cd most certainly is needed here), but it is a small price to pay for the insight into her life, and learning how she actually approaches life. We are attracted to artists because they can say something about life often better than we can ourselves. She certainly strikes chords within myself, and because of that she truly is giving me a great gift... and for me that is worth far more than the cost of the medium that is used to deliver the gifts to me.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars You could have been more!, January 30, 2004
By 
Heavy Theta (Lorton, Va United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story (DVD)
I was tempted to rate this lower, except this is as advertised a very fine documentary of a unique and superb talent. What seemed so frustrating is that this format requires voice over and cutting of a remarkable group of historic live performances. Yes, four uninterrupted songs from a latter day performance are added as a bonus, but I really wanted to see more of the rare and vintage performances that were assembled for this DVD. (It's a little like sitting through Dylan's EAT THE DOCUMENT when you know that Pennebaker has the complete performances laying around someplace.)
No doubt, most who watch this documentary will find themselves all the more impressed with this indespensable artist, and likely to latch onto any one of her great albums. But if they had given the complete performances, this DVD would be a frequent flyer. This is the rare case where we really did need the bonus disc.
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Joni Mitchell - Woman of Heart and Mind: A Life Story
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