Vidal Sassoon: The Movie opens in limited release today in Manhattan. The documentary, directed by Craig Teper and produced by Bumble and Bumble founder Michael Gordon, chronicles Sassoon’s innovations to the world of hairstyling; furthermore, it also deals with Sassoon’s own struggle to reinvent himself from the orphan he had been into the giant he would become. Would you be interested in seeing this movie?
Here’s what some of the critics are saying:
The New York Times:
Vidal Sassoon: The Movie opens with a blast of hyperbole from an assembly of disembodied voices: “I think it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of Vidal Sassoon.” “He built something that rocked the world.” “He was one of the greatest if not the greatest hairdresser who ever lived.” One commentator even compares Mr. Sassoon, now a spry, fit 83, to Einstein and Muhammad Ali…. Yes, it is all too much. But in the documentary’s defense, its upbeat tone, perky visual rhythm and sleek graphics capture the “swinging ’60s” aesthetic epitomized by Mr. Sassoon’s major invention: the geometric “five-point” haircut.
Moving Pictures Network:
It is undeniable that Sassoon has had a fascinating life, but while it’s interesting to hear some views on hair and design, one wishes that Sassoon’s personal story had been more of the focus of the film.
Though his hairstyling legacy still thrives around the world, much less is known about Sassoon’s fascinating journey to the top. In his directorial debut, Craig Teper takes a euphoric look at Sassoon’s rags to riches rise. Employing vintage footage to modern-day conversations with family, colleagues and the charismatic, 81-year-old master himself, Vidal Sassoon: The Movie is ultimately a captivating cross-section of an inherent artist.
The straightforward encomium doesn’t delve too deeply into the man’s psyche, but it offers a vivid picture of his working process, as a parade of former employees describes his perfectionism and the strict discipline of his salons.
New York Magazine:
This showy, quick-paced, graphics-laden look at octogenarian British hairdresser and businessman Sassoon, who made a name for himself in the sixties by “liberating” women from salon chairs with geometric wash-and-wear haircuts, then created an arsenal of ubiquitous hair products, offers a classic rags-to-riches success story—but first-time director Teper is unsure how best to tell it, and the doc often slips into hagiographical territory.
Far be it from me to deny Vidal Sassoon’s importance in transforming the art, practice, and industry of hairstyling or to refute his influence in the popular culture at large, but Craig Teper’s documentary profile of the legendary hairdresser seems to be so uninterested in anything other than consecrating its subject’s place in history, while scrupulously avoiding any unsavory details that might sully that legacy, that it veers dangerously close to hagiography. What saves it from mere uncritical fawning—a note struck from the movie’s opening declaration that “it’s impossible to overestimate the importance of Vidal Sassoon”—is the presence of the subject himself.
The Huffington Post:
Vidal Sassoon feels like an infomercial, selling the 80-plus-year-old stylist…. Sassoon comes off as a nice enough guy, one who overcame hardship as a child, stayed physically fit, has been through a couple of failed marriages and suffered after the premature drug-overdose death of one of his children. Otherwise, this is mostly hero worship, with articulate witnesses singing his praises and explaining how he changed the world. Or somebody’s world.
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