To honor the now late Miss Sharon Jones, I am republishing this review of her amazing documentary, released earlier this year. Miss Sharon Jones remains an inspiration who made a huge impact in my life and the way I choose to live. Rest in Power Miss Jones.
Miss Sharon Jones may be the best biographical documentary I have seen. Ever. It is not the typical story of the rise or the rise and fall of a musician, as one would expect (although her many struggles in the business throughout her career are touched upon). It is documentation focusing mainly on Sharon Jones’ battle against and defeat of pancreatic cancer.
This might be an otherwise depressing subject to cover, but this film has all the depth, soul and beauty of the woman herself, whose imperfectly perfect self is captured, perfectly. You will laugh because Miss Sharon Jones has a mean sense of humor. And you will cry. I’m not talking about just any ole regular crying either; you will cry tears of empathy, tears of laughter, tears of praise, tears of triumph. There will be all sorts of tears. And the tears will be heartfelt, either because you relate so closely to her battle with cancer (having faced it yourself or because of the memory of a loved one winning or losing their battle), or just because you feel the human suffering of another person who has been “cursed” with this wretchedly, often-times incurable, nasty disease.
We get to see cancer take its toll on her body, her energy, her disposition, and at times, her spirit, but we also see the magnificent rebound and recovery. Sharon’s beautiful spirit truly makes this movie watchable. It makes it bearable to discuss cancer, to watch someone having surgery, chemo treatments and scans, to watch a woman lose her hair, to talk about burial vs. cremation. It is her zest for life, her authenticity, and her matter-of-fact bluntness and honesty that make this film bearable, even uplifiting, and saves it from not being a totally depressing cancer talk.
To say that this woman is bad-ass is an understatement. She is ebullient and full of talent. She is a firecracker, whose spirit is everything you want to be, but are not and never will be. Dubbed the “Female James Brown” for her uniquely soulful sound and stage presence, Sharon Jones is a force of nature.
There are many take-aways from this documentary. This movie teaches us about perseverance and inner strength, positive attitude, and faith in God’s plan, whatever it may be.
We learn that success is relative. It does not always come with great fame and great fortune and followers and paparazzi and accolades and awards. It can come with knowing that you have the ability to care for yourself and the ones you love, and nothing more. It can simply come from doing what you are passionate about and enjoying that passion and sharing that passion with others.
We have the privilege of getting a glimpse into the world of a woman who is a living example that it is possible for people of different ethnicities, religions, cultures and beliefs to support and help one another and cheer one another on; which is something greatly necessary at this time in history. Despite having been raised in a segregated southern community (she briefly discusses the racism), her friends, social circle, support system – whatever you may call it – is super supportive, loving and diverse.
We are yet again reminded that beauty never lies solely in a person’s physical appearance. Beauty comes from our spirit and our drive, our talents and passions, our disposition, our humility, and much more. By the end of this documentary, I promise you, you will see Miss Sharon Jones, with or without hair, sick or well, as one of the most beautiful people you have ever laid eyes upon in your life.
Miss Sharon Jones is an inspiration to us all. Not just this documentary, but the woman herself. Her beautiful spirit will simply overtake you and bring you joy. Her talent will make you immediately take the time to acquire and listen to every bit of her music that you can get your hands on.
Miss Sharon Jones earns 10 out of 10 bloops. If you see one movie this year, see this one. I promise you will not be disappointed.