With all due respect to Nuts! and Aferim!, no film this year has earned its exclamation point quite like famed documentarian Barbara Kopple’s Miss Sharon Jones!. Miss Jones is a gifted soul singer who was marginalized for decades by a music industry that told her that she was “too short, too black, and too fat.” (That explains why CeeLo Green never found mainstream success, huh?)After years of struggle, Jones was finally able to release her first album in 2002, well into her 40s. Miss Sharon Jones! picks up in 2013 as her hard-fought career is sidelined by pancreatic cancer, a nasty type even by cancer standards.Her avowed idol is James Brown, and among the mantles she proves worthy of carrying is that of the Hardest Working Woman in Show Business; even as her body rebels and the livelihoods of herself and her band are at risk, she maintains the positive attitude that brought her this far. Few things are more charming than how happy Jones is to learn she’s been booked on Ellen, her favorite daytime show, and if the next edition of the Oxford English Dictionary doesn’t include Miss Jones’ comeback performance at New York’s Beacon Theatre in February 2014 as the definition of “triumphant,” then there is truly no justice in the world.
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