‘Luther: Never Too Much’ Sundance Film Festival Review
Walking into the Prospector Square Theater in Park City,Utah for the Luther: Never Too Much Sundance Film Festival screening was incredibly special. Unexpectedly on the screen there was a montage of Sundance Film Festival’s best moments throughout the day with Luther Vandross melodies serenading the audience. In such a cold weather environment this was a warm embrace of what was to come.
As the film starts the treats keep coming: Jamie Foxx, one of the executive producers on the documentary, makes a pre-tapped message to the audience about how Luther was an icon and to enjoy the film. Impressively Jamie did this with all his accolades and awards on transparent shelves in the background. Ending the message with the distinct Luther voice we all known and love for decades “Still in Love”, so magically said by Jamie as he walks off screen.
The film starts in Luther’s upbringing and his downright relentless pursuit of being the best singer and performer possible. Which was interesting because as he grew as musical genius he was shinning in the background. Known for his vocal arrangements, ingenious additions to songs with vocal runs & ideas for entire albums he was respected in the music business.
Filmmaker Dawn Porter does a masterfully wonderful take on Luther Vandross life which has an almost super hero-esque charm & wit element to it. Not the prototypical superstar of his day with his weight and dark skin being pointed out, he used his talent for excellency be the focal point. The most notable focus of the media eye on him was his weight. Which would go up and down, even conversations on the Oprah show about it. Where he’s seen joking and laughing but also wincing & clearly didn’t feel comfortable discussing it. Poked and prodded as he got older, one of the first questions he got was about his weight. How exhausting, right?! He would take it in jest but to close friends who revealed in the documentary this was a serious invasion of privacy for him.
Throughout his illustrious music career Luther finally stepped into the spotlight and he had been a star ever since. Never Too Much was an instant classic with Luther being synonymous with tunes you’d hear on the radio and for decades to come. Even to this day his music is sped up on Tik Tok and of course sampled on Kanye’s Slow Jamz. Which also features Jamie Foxx. How fitting. Cementing him self as one of the greatest male vocalists ever, Luther wasn’t satisfied with that. He wanted the elusive Grammy win that escaped him nine times before. When he finally got it, those around him felt the validation he had seeked. I notice though, most of his songs were about unrequited love. Love he never received back the way he want to. Was it not good enough: the adoration of his fans, peers and friends? Maybe that’s why the love he got back was ‘Never Too Much’.