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Long Strange Trip: Hot Docs Review

by Charles Trapunski
4 out of 5 stars

The movie that we have been waiting for at Hot Docs is an over four hour documentary about the band The Grateful Dead. No, scratch that, the movie that we have been waiting for *in general* is Amir Bar-Lev’s film about the hippie icons (Bar-Lev was last seen in the festival in 2014 with the gut-wrenching Happy Valley, about the sex scandal at Penn State University).

The film isn’t particularly strange, (it is certainly long, though doesn’t feel it, especially in comparison to last year’s O.J: Made in America), and perhaps would be best enjoyed while under the influence of certain substances, though you didn’t hear that from me.

The movie is more than Boomer nostalgia and represents a pretty deep dive into The Grateful Dead subculture and what it stands for and what it represents. Compared to a film like Gimme Danger, which is in the same vein, it feels less like hero worship and more like an appreciation of the flawed heroes of The Grateful Dead. Jerry Garcia meeting Mick Jagger is a standout.

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