mollie’s review published on Letterboxd:
When I first watched this a few months ago, I was a very, very casual fan of Talking Heads. I knew some of their songs, mostly thanks to growing up with two parents who lived and breathed the 80s, and the few times that I decided to listen to them on my own. However, I had always heard about how great this film is and soon decided that it was time for me to check it out. I was immediately entranced by every moment of this film and I have been ever since.
I don't know what to describe this as other than intoxicating joy; every song, every shot, and every silly dance move that David Byrne does brings a massive smile to my face. I have never been able to make it through this movie without getting up to dance, and I doubt I ever will. The concert itself is masterful, with incredible coordination, unmatched energy, and, of course, some of the best music ever written. All of this is elevated to a masterful level by the work of Jonathan Demme and the film crew who treated this, not as just another concert, but as a film. That distinction may seem arbitrary at first, but there's a reason why this is considered the greatest concert film of all time.
There is a story and narrative at work in this, and it's one that I believe is something different for each person who watches it. On top of this, this is just one of the best shot films to ever exist; the camera is in perfect harmony with each performance and brings the concert up to a new level. The moment in "Once in a Lifetime" when the camera goes wide after having stayed tight on David for the majority of the song always takes my breath away; the first time that the band's massive shadows are revealed during "What a Day that Was" is one of the most stunning shots I've ever seen; the moment when David is watching the lamp he just danced with stand upright again is practically my favorite shot of all time. There is so much to gush about in terms of the visual aspects of this film, that I'm afraid I might end up writing a full paper if I continue.
Talking Heads have quickly become my favorite band of all time, and David Byrne is just one of my favorite people. The music this band produced is just incredible; for months, I've almost exclusively listened to Talking Heads (a little wild, now that I'm thinking about it). I know I'm not the first to say this, and I definitely won't be the last, but Talking Heads are simply one of the most influential and greatest bands of all time, and that is so beautifully translated into this film.
This is one of those movies that you watch and wonder: "how have I gone my whole life without this?" and I really don't know how I made it so long without it! There are some movies that feel like they are a part of my soul, and ever since I first watched this, I knew it was one of those special ones. Stop Making Sense feels like it is one of the many pieces that make me who I am, and I am eternally grateful for it. If you read this, thank you for putting up with my rambling, I just needed to get this out. I love this movie more than I'll ever be able to put down in words. If you're not a fan of Talking Heads yet, just watch this and I promise you will be soon.