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Neil Peart, Geddy Lee & Alex Lifeson

Mon, Jun 24, 2024

Rush: Time Stand Still documentary reviews and discussion

Mon, Jan 16, 2017@1:50PM | comments

It's now been over 2 months since the Rush: Time Stand Still documentary premiered in theaters, and nearly 2 months since its release on DVD/Blu-ray. So Rush fans have now had several weeks to let the implications alluded to in the documentary set in; Rush has retired from touring and likely retired from making music altogether. These revelations along with how the film was crafted as a kind of thank you letter to the band's loyal fanbase have elicited a multitude of mixed reactions from fans, causing both tears of sadness and tears of joy as both Rush and their fans reflect on their special 40-year relationship. A second wave of reviews of the documentary along with appearances on a number of year-end best-of lists occurred in the last few weeks due to fans receiving copies of the film as Holiday gifts and having the time to sit down and watch/re-watch the movie. Empress Eve at Geeks of Doom included the film in her Top 10 Favorite Movies Of 2016 list and had this to say about it:

When I speak about the band Rush, I have to preface it by revealing that Rush is my favorite band of all time. With that, it's no surprise that their new documentary Time Stand Still made it on my list of favorite movies of 2016, especially since it chronicles the legendary group's final large-scale tour and includes performances, interviews, and a look at the fans. That's right, this was a farewell, and it was a heartbreaking one. With two-thirds of the Canadian rock trio's line-up suffering from the physical effects of aging, the members decided to call it quits and go out on top, and on top they did after a successful, storied 40-plus-year career. I was in tears watching some of this documentary, especially the parts where the band members talk about how in their hearts and minds they don't want it to end. But much like a professional athlete must retire due to physical constraints, they say, so must the hard-rock road dogs of Rush. Freeze this moment a little bit longer....

Becca James recommended the film for the A.V. Club's Staff Picks section a couple of weeks ago, and The Observer had it as the second best music documentary of 2016:

I heard from a couple of diehard Rush friends that they were weeping at the end of this documentary. Chronicling the band's final major tour after 40 years on the road, the emotional gravitas of this heartfelt documentary is palpable, especially in the candid way Lifeson, Peart and Lee express the mixed emotions they endured while deciding to retire the Rush brand. "Will there ever be a relationship between a band and a fanbase that is so long-standing and powerful?" wonders comedian and avowed Rush fan Paul Rudd while narrating the film. "So many lives wrapped up in the work of three musicians." Indeed the prospect of a world without a Rush tour to look forward to is quite foreign to me as well; I haven't missed a Rush concert since Roll The Bones, and no amount of archival footage is going lessen the blow of living in a world without Rush.

Over the weekend, Annie Zaleski wrote this heartfelt review of the film for which does a great job of summing up how many Rush fans felt after viewing the documentary:

... By the end of watching the film, I was growing teary along with all the fans in attendance at the final R40 show in Los Angeles. In fact, several of them were filmed visibly losing it as Rush ran through its breakthrough U.S. single, "Working Man," one last time. It might seem like an overly dramatic reaction to become misty-eyed when a rock band finishes a show, even if this is reportedly the act's last concert ever. A retreat from the spotlight, however, is as transformative as a death, and fans have every right to feel bereft at the end of experiencing Rush's music in a certain way. Going forward, the fan-band relationship will be irrevocably transformed. It's perhaps less communal and more individual, for instance, and intimate rather than grandiose and immersive. ... "Time Stand Still" illuminates the deeply personal relationship between Rush fans and the band but also takes great pains to convey that such a connection is stronger than any ending. That's a lesson 2016 taught music fans, over and over again. But it's also how people move forward: holding those experiences tight and treasuring the joy, beauty and solace they have provided.

After taking a 2-month break, the Rush Podcast is back and their latest episode focuses solely on the documentary, where host Jay Mantis argues that the retirement alluded to in the film is a good thing for Rush fans in the long run. You can check out the podcast below or at this location. Here's a comprehensive list of all of the film reviews thus far:

[The Prog Report]
[Geeks of Doom]
[Huffington Post]
[Drew's Reviews]
[Rolling Stone]
[Toronto Sun] (4 stars)
[Now Toronto]
[Montreal Gazette] (4 stars).

Trailers and clips from the documentary are available online at the Rush YouTube channel, and John over at has transcribed/scanned the artwork and liner notes and made them available online (liner notes, scans). You can order your copy of Rush: Time Stand Still on DVD or Blu-ray if you haven't already obtained one.

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