Ain’t In It For My Health: A Film About Levon Helm

Please Note: This film is no longer showing at Railroad Square Cinema

“For the fans left bereft by his 2012 death, it’s impossible to imagine a more exquisite, honest, and beautifully detailed documentary about the life of Levon Helm than Jacob Hatley’s AIN’T IN IT FOR MY HEALTH. This film seems as much man as it does movie, capturing the many sides of The Band’s former drummer: his modesty, his humor, his anger about how his group fell apart. And, without getting all gooey, the doc shows how Helm handled the cancer that hovered over his final decade. Finally, this unassuming little flick makes a sham out of drugs-a-go-go melodramatic crap like WALK THE LINE, maybe because Hatley never forgets he’s making a movie about a goddamn musician. This is one of the most fully rounded, unsentimental portraits of an artist you’ll ever see on film….A few years back, Helm, along with Bob Dylan and others, inherited partially finished Hank Williams lyrics. Helm, helped by guitarist Larry Campbell, turned his into a real song. Midway through the film, Helm can barely whisper it. Near the end, voice back, he belts that sucker out like it’s 1972, and with honest joy. Here’s a tune sung by a man, once rich, then poor, now somewhere in the middle, doing what he got into this business for‚ to make good, honest music. Substitute “film” for “music” and you can say the same about Hatley and his quietly remarkable cinematic achievement”—Village Voice. Unrated. 83 Min.