Danielson: A Family Movie (or Make A Joyful Noise Here) JL Aronson

Danielson: A Family Movie (or Make A Joyful Noise Here) JL Aronson
As popular as the Danielson Famile are, their fans are rarely satisfied with what they purport to be. Are they really Christian? Are they really a family? If so, then what the hell are they doing? The answers, as filmmaker JL Aronson shows, are obvious. Daniel Smith is a devout Christian, his "Famile” is indeed a family (save for one or two members) and if you want to know what he’s doing look no further. Filmed over the course of four years, Danielson: a Family Movie provides a background on the Smith family and a history of Daniel’s musical project, from college thesis to touring rock band. Aronson follows the group on various tours, documenting the band’s struggle to hold themselves together through marriages, kids and geographic rifts. He speaks to audience members from both the Christian community (which, we’re told, ultimately spurns them) and the indie rock set (which accepts them, but favours band-mate Sufjan Stevens in the end). While the first half of the film comes off a bit too congratulatory, the second half adds a healthy dose of strife to the formula: while Daniel struggles to kick off a solo career, Stevens (having just released Illinois) is getting his ass kissed wherever they go. The film meanders at times, and long-time Danielson fans will probably find some of it redundant. Still, the film offers plenty for both followers and neophytes: the Smith family is unfailingly likeable and it’s a pleasure to see them in their element. Viewers see Daniel both at home and at work, exploring different creative personas and making his art (music, album covers and home-made goods that he peddles under the name "Great Comfort Stuff”). For those who have questioned the Danielson Famile in the past, Aronson’s documentary provides a final and wholly satisfying answer. (HVE/Image/Paradox)