Kurt Cobain: About a Son is very difficult for me to write about. The music of Nirvana and the lyrics of Cobain himself not only spoke to me in a big way in my formative years, but helped to shape my generation as a whole. The film should not have been a film at all.

About a Son is compelling not because of wonderful film making or any kind of unique perspective from anyone who worked on the set, namely the director, AJ Schnack. It was basically an extremely gripping voice over from the god of grunge himself, but the viewer is forced to stare listlessly at a series of completely unrelated and painfully uninteresting visuals, like random people staring into the camera and extremely mediocre sunsets and landscapes.

If Kurt himself had the opportunity to see this film, I believe wholeheartedly that he would turn it off before it reached midpoint. However, Kurt is one of the most misunderstood figures in recent rock and roll history, and the recordings heard throughout the film shed a lot of light on who he was as a person, his childhood and relationships with his parents, his gay best friend during his high school years, his musical inspirations, drug addiction and his feelings about the family he created with Courtney Love.

For anyone who loves Kurt Cobain the way I love him, I say check out this flick, but if you feel compelled to close your eyes and only listen to the voice over, you would achieve the same, if not a better, effect. I personally feel the voice over should have been made into an audio CD rather than a film, because Kurt is what is interesting, not the so-called symbolic garbage the viewer is forced to stare at while listening to Kurt’s beautiful and insightful words about a lost generation.

And not only that, there is not one Nirvana song or moving image of Kurt, his band, or Courtney Love in the entire film. The entire film! So again, if Kurt helped to shape you in your formative years, see the film, but if you are not inclined to hang onto every single word he might say, don’t waste your time. You’ll be bored to tears.

I never imagined I’d write a bad review about a film with Kurt Cobain’s name right there in the title, but here it is. And I am forlorn, awaiting some different filmmaker to come along and do some justice to Kurt Cobain, one of the most brilliant, troubled, tragic, and beautiful rock and rollers ever to make it big.

I will say this though, I wept for a straight ten minutes after the credits rolled, but only because of the tragedy of Kurt’s suicide and what could have been had he survived, not because of any magical film making. But don’t take my word for it, see for yourself.

Kurt Cobain: About a Son is playing at the Belcourt Theater. For more information about the film and show times go to www.belcourt.org or call 615-383-9140.

Photo courtesy of Red Bull

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Photo courtesy of Rumble Boxing Gulch Nashville

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