Songwriter: An Ed Sheeran Documentary

Ed Sheeran in Songwriter.

Murray Cumming’s documentary, Songwriter, is able to capture Ed Sheeran as he puts together his third studio album, ÷.

With director Murray Cummings also being a cousin of the singer, it makes this documentary extra special.  Because it’s a family affair, Cummings goes behind-the-scenes as Sheeran puts together a new album with producer Benny Blanco.  Sheeran writes whenever he has the time–be it on the bus, a Malibu estate, or even while on a cruise liner.  Through the process, Sheeran is prone to his vulnerable side.  Nobody is immune to such vulnerabilities.  Not even chart-topping musicians!

Before a montage of travel scenes, Cummings is cable to capture Sheeran posting on Instagram about taking a break from social media.  It’s a lesson that many celebrities could use.  Of course, there are a large number who are forced away from social media due to harassment.  This is the beauty of a documentary such as Songwriter.  Far too often, we only get a brief glimpse at celebrities through the filters they want us to see through social media and media interviews.

When you’re a family member telling a story, you can provide insight that isn’t available to other filmmakers.  At the same time, there is already an insane amount of information out there.  This means that there’s a nice hill to climb as far as what time of story to tell.  While Cummings climbs the hill with the finished product being a fun documentary about his cousin, there are some questions.  The first one being, why limit the film from being so much more?  Again, this could be because of Sheeran wanting to curate what people see through his lens.  Here’s a guy who practically quit social media for a year in order to live and travel the world.  Yet at the same time, other than songs in various stages of the recording process, there could be so much more.

Ultimately, Songwriter is a very different kind of documentary than what we’re used to seeing about musicians.  We don’t get to see Sheeran dealing with fame as many celebrity docs show us.  There’s no concert footage.  No running from the cameras.  There’s not even the basic sit-down interviews that ground so many documentaries over the years.  The focus for this documentary is showing strictly how the music comes together and that’s it.  The die-hard fans will likely welcome Songwriter with open arms.  The rest of us are left wanting just a little bit more.

DIRECTOR:  Murray Cummings
FEATURING:  Ed Sheeran, Beoga Beoga, Benny Blanco, John McDaid, Julia Michaels, Fuse Odg, Matthew Sheeran, Ryan Tedder, Foy Vance, Amy Wadge

Abramorama and Apple Music will release Songwriter in theaters on August 17, 2018.  Songwriter will be available through Apple Music on August 28, 2018.  The world premiere was held at the 2018 Berlin International Film Festival with the North American premiere being held during the 2018 Tribeca Film Festival.

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.

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