Singer Charles Bradley opens up in Soul Of America.
Charles Bradley: Soul Of America (Poull Brien). 74 minutes. Opens Friday (May 31). For venues and times, see listings. Rating: NNNN
Arriving on Toronto's screens just a couple of weeks after the man himself played a reported knockout concert at the Phoenix, Poull Brien's Charles Bradley: Soul Of America places the soul singer in the pantheon of great American second acts.
As Brien shows us, Bradley spent decades working as a James Brown impersonator. He finally recorded his own material at the age of 62 for Daptone Records, thanks to the urging of label mate Sharon Jones.
Bradley's subsequent rise within the world of American soul - opening for Jones on tour, and slowly coming into his own as a performer after decades spent being someone else onstage - makes for an incredible story, especially once Brien fills us in on the man's grim personal history.
Bradley was raised in Brooklyn by a mother who wasn't exactly supportive - and still isn't, as we see in present-day footage - and tragedy dots both their histories. But that all goes away when he takes the stage, exploding into song to transport his audience to a place where we can believe everything's going to be all right.
We hear about people pouring their hearts out all the time. I never thought I'd actually see it captured on screen.