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Film Reviews If You Could Read My Mind offers an entertaining, if shallow, look at Gordon Lightfoot

  • Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind
  • Directed by Joan Tosoni and Martha Kehoe
  • Starring: Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLauchlan, Sylvia Tyson and Ian Tyson
  • Classification: PG; 90 minutes

rating

Oddly missing from the documentary is anything on Lightfoot’s near death in 2002.

Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

What’s left to say about Gordon Lightfoot, the Early Morning Rain balladeer and stoic Canadian who has weathered decades of examination? Plenty, but a new biodoc on him doesn’t dig too deep into the darker crevices of the man’s life.

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Instead, we get an entertaining but superficial and laudatory overview of one of his country’s greatest singer-songwriters. Archival film of a young Lightfoot crooning about trains at the long-gone Riverboat Coffee House will thrill the old folkies. Pressed into talking-head service, Burton Cummings, Steve Earle and, yes, actor Alec Baldwin testify on Lightfoot’s behalf. Just Murray McLauchlan hints at his fellow songster’s gloom.

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Of Lightfoot’s former wives and lovers, only onetime girlfriend Cathy Smith is heard from – and she’s subtly vilified. Oddly missing is anything on Lightfoot’s near death in 2002. Instead there’s footage of the Captain Canada troubadour canoeing, in a film that is not interested in tipping any boats.

Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind opens May 24.

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