John Farnham: Finding the Voice


Action / Biography / Documentary / Music

Rotten Tomatoes Critics - Certified Fresh 92% · 12 reviews
Rotten Tomatoes Audience - Upright 98%
IMDb Rating 8.1/10 10 330 330


Top cast

Céline Dion as Self
Richard Marx as Self
720p.BLU 1080p.BLU
875.7 MB
English 2.0
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
Seeds 9
1.75 GB
English 5.1
23.976 fps
1 hr 34 min
Seeds 18

Movie Reviews

Reviewed by anthonyjlangford 9 / 10

The Legend. Excellent doco with just a few omissions

This is an excellent doco about a very powerful singer with quite the journey. Rather than repeat what others have said I'll focus on a couple of differences.

It was poignant that the story was told by those who were part of it, especially those who did not survive to witness the release of this documentary. There were however, quite a few grabs that were low level in volume. One late in the piece by Jimmy Barnes comes to mind. I don't know if the version I saw on free to air television was any different than the one in cinemas and dvd but it seems highly unlikely. The audio levels were not consistent throughout which is unheard of really in a production, especially one this important. It should not have happened.

I would have liked to known something about his siblings. We saw a brief shot of a sister in the sixties footage with his family but no mention afterwards. Surely worthy of one. And what of his parents? Did they survive long enough to witness his huge eighties success? The focus is mostly on the music but a mention or two of family is important in John's story and a human interest one for the audience. When did they pass? What impact did it have on his career and life?

I was a teenager in the eighties so was a big fan of Whispering Jack and the following two albums. To my memory, W. J. was the first Australian produced CD by an Australian artist. A mention would have been good. It's quite significant. A piece of music history.

It was surprising to me that so many of the songs on W. J. and Age of Reason were written by others. One from each album was written by Ross Wilson. His own version of A Touch of Paradise can be found on an earlier Mondo Rock album, Nuovo Mondo. It's very good too. I thought a mention or even interview of Ross would have been worthy. A legend in his own right. There was obviously some sort of relationship there for John to have two of Ross' songs over two albums.

It's interesting because so many of the songs for the follow-up album, Chain Reaction in 1990 were written by John and associates. Some of his best including In Days to Come, See the Banners Fall and most importantly, I Can Do Anything. This last track features some very poignant lyrics that speak to the man. 'So, what do you see. Just an ordinary man. What sets us apart, is this fire in my heart. That says I can do anything.'

Much was made of Burn for You, another great track, but I think a mention of this song was also very important. It says everything really about John Farnham as a person and his entire career. Again, an oversight.

For the casual listener, these things would not have been noticeable. For me, I loved the whole documentary. I just wanted a bit more in certain places. Such as his regular appearances on Hey Hey it's Saturday, which I also remember. It spoke to the humour of the man and his relaxed, casual nature. Again, that 'ordinary' quality juxtaposed with his huge talent. A brief mention again, would have added more depth.

It was great to see the inclusions of Amazing Grace, his song with Jimmy Barnes, his work with Daryl Braithwaite (whose own solo album is brilliant), his later live performance of that song, Sadie and many other clips unseen to most, like his mid-seventies gigs.

Most importantly, it worked on an emotional level. To think of those three individuals, Olivia, Glenn and John, whose careers lasted over 50 years to be all struck down in less than 12 months, is deeply sad. John survived of course, and we can only hope that he recovers enough to have a quality of life again and that he's around for much longer to come, whether he sings again or not.

What a talent. Huge respect. Thank you for some wonderful memories in the eighties in particular and excellent, timeless music. Australia's greatest talent.

Reviewed by / 10

Reviewed by tm-sheehan 9 / 10

Superb tribute- Nostalgic true story of endurance and belief in talent

My Review - Finding The Voice My Rating 9/10 .

In Cinemas now There are very few Australian entertainers that command the affection and respect that John Farnham and the late Dame Olivia Newton - John have experienced and deserved over both their long careers .

It's interesting to note the similarities that both these iconic Australian entertainers and great friends shared together. Both were child immigrants to this country from England , both were born within 12 months of each other and both loved performing together . I remember their wonderful Main Event Concert in Sydney in 1999 in which they performed with another great voice Anthony Warlow . They also toured together in April 2015 in The Two Strong Hearts Tour performing their hits over 5 decades .

It's understandable that Olivia Newton - John's friendship with John Farnham and their mutual admiration for each other is often mentioned in this documentary as well as his loyal and endearing friendship with his manager Glen Wheatley plus the parting of the ways with his initial manager Darryl Sambell who is described in the film as not a very nice human being Glen Wheatley who sadly died in 2022 from Covid 19 complications long association with Farnham features in Act 3 of this amazing comeback story and is narrated with great archival footage by his widow Gaynor Martin.

I think this finely researched and entertaining tribute documentary is best described in three acts because it begins with Act 1 Johnny Farnham's rise to fame after his initial hit Sadie the Cleaning Lady one of the biggest selling single hits ever released in Australia in 1967 when Farnham was only 18 .

Act 2 - was most surprising to me as I remember seeing Johnny Farnham perform in Leagues Clubs and dance venues and enjoyed both his stage performances in the musicals Pippin (1974) and Charlie Girl (1972 in Sydney .

I didn't realise this was his downward spiral period which lead to record companies and radio stations refusing to play his records.

In the movie industry they refer to a star on the way down as box office poison I suppose in the music industry they refer to it as turntable terminal or just a has been?

This Act includes the 3 years from 1982 to 1985 that John Farnham replaced Glen Shorrock as leader singer in The Little River Band which wasn't a happy period for the singer or the band .

Act 3 - John Farnham rises triumphantly like a Phoenix under the expert management of his friend Glen Wheatley . This is where he finds his true voice in 1986 with his solo single "Your the Voice" that held the number one position for 25 weeks and lead to the 3rd highest selling album in Australian history titled Whispering Jack that also bought long overdue International success for John Farnham.

Poppy Stockell who co wrote Finding The Voice with Paul Clarke also directed this 3 Act tribute to John Farnham . I hope Poppy receives the recognition she greatly deserves for this affectionate and cleverly edited 90 minute tribute.

This film documentary is not just a scrapbook or timeline of about the entertainer who has become one of Australia's best-known and most popular performers.

John Farnham is the only Australian artist to have a number-one record album or single in five consecutive decades echoing that of Cliff Richard the UK.

I recommend seeing this film while it's in the Cinema before it streams it has greater emotional impact than most similar documentaries about famous entertainers the archival footage and commentary is edited beautifully.

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