Heaven Adores You – “A perfect love letter to Elliott Smith”
Directed by: Nickolas Dylan Rossi
Starring: Elliott Smith, Jon Brion, Kevin Moyer, Ross Harris, and Autumn DeWilde
Thanks to Kevin Moyer and Nick Bruno, I just finished watching a screening of “Heaven Adores You” at the Whitsell auditorium at the Portland art museum. I have never been shy about my love and adoration for Elliott’s music, and for the last 10 years I have been waiting for a documentary film that focuses more on his life, music, and the person he was rather than his death. “Heaven Adores You” is exactly that and much more.
As someone who has struggled with addiction and subsequent depression in the past, I will tell you (and have told many) that Elliott Smith’s music is one of the few things that can and always has soothed my soul. He was able to capture a feeling in his words and sound that speaks to me as it does most people that I know that have delved into his music. The man was an artist in the truest sense of the word. He created something profound and beautiful that needs to be discovered by new generations of music lovers.
In “Heaven” we are given a beautiful, moving love letter to not only Elliott and his music but also to Portland and it’s music scene in the 90s that defined Portland youth before there was the new “Portlandia” hipness and national reverence for the city of roses. The film shows us gorgeous shots of past and current landmarks in the city that launched his brilliant career. It is a perfect tour through his career and life, and a great opportunity to hear stories form his friends and family who have remained largely quiet after his death in 2003.
There is something in this film for not only die hard fans of Elliott’s work, but also people who are not familiar with his music and are looking to discover it for themselves. I myself was even surprised at the amount of music in the film that I had not heard before. That especially was moving for me, as hearing him sing and play songs for the first time ever almost gave the feeling that he was still here in a way. I am keeping my fingers crossed that there will be a subsequent soundtrack releasing as I would die at the chance to hear more from the artist that has had the most profound impact on my life. For now though, I will savor the beauty of the film and encourage others to seek it out.