November 29, 2016 -- This is an inspiring biopic about a woman struggling to survive, but who has the strength to bare her soul on the internet and the talent and perseverance to rise above her poverty and tragic past.
This is a story built around the collaborative nature of arts on the internet. Princess Shaw (that's a stage name for Samantha Montgomery) is a struggling artist in New Orleans, trying to get her singing and songwriting skills noticed on Youtube. In her Youtube videos, she lays bare her pain, molested as a child, and ignored in adulthood. She is just barely getting by on a low level nursing home salary, then her car breaks down, then crooks steal the wheels.
She goes to open mike night at a bar and sings to an almost empty room. She feels like a fool, getting nowhere, and not getting noticed at all. Then, her soulful voice and raw talent are noticed halfway around the world in Israel, by an artist known as Kutiman (Ophir Kutiel). He decides, unbeknownst to Princess Shaw, to make a musical arrangement around her a cappella vocals.
Kutiman invites his followers on the internet to compose music to accompany a song written and sung by Princess Shaw. A child plays a piano, an electric guitarist sends in his video, and more join in. Kutiman expertly mixes all the instrumental videos with Princess Shaw's original to produce a striking musical accompaniment for Shaw, who plays no instruments herself.
Kutiman uploads the completed song without telling Shaw, saying that Youtube will do the rest. Soon, Shaw finds out about Kutiman's project and is overwhelmed by what he has done with her song. Eventually, the Youtube video of her song, with Kutiman's arrangement, is seen over one million times by people all over the world.
All of this is a re-enactment of the actual events, not done by actors, but by the people who lived this story. Remarkably, Shaw is invited to perform one of her songs in Israel with Kutiman at Habima, the prestigious national theater in Tel Aviv. That is quite a step up for somebody who could not afford to pay her electricity bill.
While she is still poor, Princess Shaw is now working on an album with Kutiman. She doesn't have a record contract, but she is now on the radar of the music world, and her voice has been heard by millions. Seeing her gratitude and joy for Kutiman's help, and her own achievements in this film is very moving. She says over and over that she even got noticed in the New York Times! This film rates a B.
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