Eye For Film >> Movies >> Songwriter (2017) Film Review
Reviewed by: John-Anthony Disotto
“Songs are weird things, they just come and go without giving you any warning”. Songwriter, an Apple Music produced documentary following Ed Sheeran during his time creating the 2017 album Divide, opens with thousands of fans chanting his name in a sold-out stadium. Outside his hotel, hundreds of people wait to catch a glimpse of their idol. These scenes are a stark contrast to the camerawork of Songwriter, a sort of fly on the wall documentary looking at the process of how Ed’s record-breaking album came to be.
Divide was the best-selling album globally of 2017, and with that Sheeran’s stock has led to sold-out stadium tours worldwide. “I want to be Adele, not the male Adele,” Sheeran tells his cousin and director Murray Cummings as he gets ready for his album to be uncovered. Ever since Ed started touring in 2010, his cousin has filmed the process. The connection between the two allows for a more relaxed feel throughout. Songwriter as a whole is just like Sheeran's scruffy look - a mix between natural, raw camerawork and a well-oiled marketing campaign.
Sheeran's story is presented in detail here, from writing songs like Love Yourself in his tour bus and having it later end up as a chart-topping single for Justin Bieber, to having a jam session in an LA villa with his large writing-team-cum-friend group. The documentary allows an insight into the process of making some of his most beloved songs. And while it’s interesting to hear his approach and the steps taken from writing the lyrics to matching the words with the beat, there is still a sense that Songwriter does nothing more than just self-promote.
Sheeran is a likeable popstar, but there’s no tragedy, there’s no intrigue. As he tells his father that the last song on the album “will make mummy cry” there’s no backstory on why or what has impacted his writing process. Apart from learning a little about the production of his album, Sheeran still feels like your average bloke with above-average songwriting talent. He’s a normal boy who grew up with a love for music and ended up as the biggest male solo artist in the world. If anything, Songwriter tries too hard to make him appear normal and by doing so misses an opportunity to make him feel real.Reviewed on: 15 Aug 2018