Friday, July 17, 2020

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme Review: An Uplifting Look Into Some Amazing Hip Hop Performers

Release date: July 17, 2020
Running time: 90 minutes
Starring: Utkarsh Ambudkar, Andrew Bancroft, James Monroe Iglehart, Lin-Manuel Miranda

Well before the world knew of the Tony award-winning Broadway musicals Hamilton and In The Heights, Lin-Manuel Miranda was in an improvisational hip-hop group called Freestyle Love Supreme along with director Thomas Kail and performers Christopher Jackson and Anthony Veneziale.  Filmmaker Andrew Fried began chronicling the group in the summer of 2005, documenting the early days of Freestyle Love Supreme beatboxing and rapping on the sidewalks—unaware of how their story would unfold.  Fourteen years later, Fried captures them reuniting for a series of shows in New York City that led to a triumphant run on Broadway. 

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme follows the main members of the group as they discover more about themselves and their love of performing.  It chronicles the individual members and those that joined on afterwards.  It is mostly documentary footage with commentary spliced in, which really gives you a sense of what these people accomplished.  You see some amazing performers singe their praises as you see them perform amazing lyrical gymnastics on stage.  It also gives you a sense of just how close this group is, as they can recall many situations and very raw, unfiltered, and loving interactions that they have had.  Given that one of the members of the group is Miranda and another (Chris Jackson) was part of Hamilton, you would expect the camera to focus on them.  But I was pleasantly surprised that the documentary focused on all the members, and gave more screen time to influential members of the Freestyle Love Supreme crew over more famous counterparts.  It gives the documentary an authentic feel, a feeling that you get throughout this exploration.  

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme is an interesting chronicle of this unique group.  The friends are all drawn together by their love of hip hop and skill at improvisational rapping, but the resultant story is so much more than that.  It looks at these young performer's ambitions and chronicles their rise together and apart.  And one of the best things about this documentary is getting to see these now larger than life performers when they were starting out.  As with everything, sometimes life happens and members of the group came and left depending on what was going on in the world and their own lives.  One member shares how his habits at the time prevented him from taking a life-changing role, and how that regret affected him going forward.  Another talks about what getting up on stage means to him and what he tries to put into every show to make the world better.  In the end, We Are Freestyle Love Supreme is an interesting documentary, but more than that it is a beautiful story about friendship and love both for those that you are close to and for those who you have just met.  It is a wonderful story that is made all the more impactful because you know what happens to this stellar crew.  

We Are Freestyle Love Supreme is a beautiful documentary about friendship and love, with some amazing performances and lyrical feats to keep you entertained.  

Watch it.
If you liked this review and want to see more from Watch or Pass, please consider following us on our various social media platforms: FacebookTwitterInstagramYoutube.  

No comments:

Post a Comment