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"Heaven Adores You": Elliott Smith Remembered 

Wednesday, May 6 2015
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The tricky thing about being a successful artist is actually dealing with that success. Some weather it well, others not so much. Elliott Smith, the subject of Nickolas Dylan Rossi's loving tribute Heaven Adores You, leaned a bit toward the latter end of the spectrum.  Smith's Oscar-nominated song "Miss Misery," and his solo performance of it at the 1998 Academy Awards, is presented as a turning point. Having moved to Brooklyn to escape his regional celebrity in — of course — Portland, he soon found himself in the global spotlight, whether he liked it or not. Smith did plenty of radio interviews that allowed him to narrate his life, but he wasn't on camera that often particularly during the early stages of his career. As a result, much of the first hour of Heaven Adores You is set to many, many shots of Portland, making the picture feel like a radio documentary playing over Portland B-Roll: The Movie. There's much more of Smith in person when his career really kicks in during the last third, which is also when his music gets more interesting and iconic. His death by double stab wounds to the chest at age 34 is left unexamined, but's reasonable enough. Heaven Adores You means to celebrate Smith's life, not his death.

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Sherilyn Connelly

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