With the classic Aussie spring weather taking a turn for the torrential seemingly every weekend, it’s high time we started handing out some viewing recommendations so you can binge watch yourself through the next dreary Sunday.
Slightly different to the music documentary, music biopics also shine a light on a lesser-known aspect of a musician or band’s life. Enlisting the help of some of the world’s best actors to play the roles, these 8 masterpieces are some of the juiciest ever.
Fetch the remote and clear the schedule, because we’ve lined up 8 music biopics that will make you laugh, cry, and just jam out for days.
Aaron Johnson steps up into the huge role of Liverpool legend, John Lennon. Despite bearing basically no physical resemblance to the Beatle, Johnson manages to pull off the voice, swagger and style of a young Lennon effortlessly.
Walk the Line
This just simply has to be one of the best-cast movies of all time. Joaquin Phoenix perfectly encapsulates the hardened, addicted and broken Johnny Cash so intensely, and extra special mention goes for his accent and stage presence. Coupled with Reese Witherspoon who so beautifully portrays June Carter, it’s the best, worst, saddest, perfect love story ever.
Is this the moment we all realised Jamie Foxx had an amazing voice? The actor scooped up a bounty of awards, including an Oscar, and ongoing critical acclaim for his eerily on-point portrayal of the late Ray Charles. The film doesn’t skimp over any of the sordid detail of Charles’ life through his fifties and sixties rise.
Straight Outta Compton
The authorized biography of N.W.A – the surviving members bring to life the story of their emergence against the odds in the Cali rap scene. The big, brutal soundtrack of this film is unbeatable, and the fact that Ice Cube enlisted his own son to play him is the icing on the cake.
Not 100% sure if this counts as a biopic by official standards… but this film was too good to not include. Eminem gives a surprisingly raw and authentic performance of an up-and-coming rapper attempting to break through his almost paralysingly blue-collar context.
While a legion of Eminem fans have a soft spot for this film because they watched it well before it was age appropriate, the brutal portrayal of someone who was just trying to make it big their own way will strike a chord with just about everyone.
Sid & Nancy
This incredibly intense look at the relationship between the Sex Pistols’ Sid Vicious and his girlfriend Nancy Spungen had Johnny Rotten calling bullshit. However, the harrowing portrayal of sex, drugs and rock & roll brought to life on-screen by Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb certainly deserves a look-in. The film follows their short, but intense relationship riddled with addiction and abuse, coming to an ultimately tragic end.
Control chronicles the life of Joy Division’s frontman, Ian Curtis. The black and white film makes no attempt to cover-up the rabid depression which ravaged Curtis’ unfortunately short life.
Curtis was the unquestionable beauty behind every melancholy, and often heart-breaking, Joy Division tune. Control is beautifully put together by photographer and filmmaker Anton Corbijn.
La Vie En Rose
Marion Cotillard’s take on the vulnerable Little Sparrow, Édith Piaf, is truly astonishing.
Bringing the story of a women who sang her way from the street to the stage with such veracity, the film works it’s way through the singer’s various heart-wrenching struggles, accompanied by a soundtrack of Piaf classics.
Love & Mercy
The brilliance of Brian Wilson is brought to life on-screen by Paul Dano and John Cusack, jumping back and forth through time between the young and vibrant, and older, uneasy and haunted Beach Boy. The film is equally heartbreaking and freeing, as Wilson ultimately finds his salvation. It also features an epic Beach Boys laden soundtrack which obviously doesn’t hurt.
I’m Not There
I lied. There was an order. I’m Not There is a film like absolutely no other. Todd Haynes takes us on a journey through the amazing life of the great Bob Dylan. Portrayed by six different actors through the course of the film, including Ben Withenshaw, Richard Gere, Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Christian Bale and Marcus Carl Franklin, the film avoids a straightforward, chronological look at Dylan’s life, instead observing what shaped the man who shaped music.
Check out our best music documentaries on Netflix list too.