Owen Gleiberman
June 08, 2011 AT 04:00 AM EDT

Rejoice & Shout

type
Movie
Current Status
In Season
mpaa
PG
runtime
115 minutes
Limited Release Date
06/03/11
performer
Smokey Robinson, Mavis Staples
director
Don McGlynn
distributor
Magnolia Pictures

We gave it an A-

Don McGlynn’s gospel documentary takes a gratifyingly comprehensive look at an ecstatic American art form. The film reaches back to 1902 (the first gospel recording) to show how barbershop harmonizers like the Fisk Jubilee Singers led to rafter-rattling church belters like Mahalia Jackson and, ultimately, the blues-tinged Staple Singers (above). Step by step, they all built a rock & soul stairway to heaven. The film is a bit too chronological, but its historical reverence is true to gospel’s joyful insistence on locating the spiritual in the everyday. A?

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