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Family Jams

  Unrated Closed Captioning

Kevin Barker

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About the Movie

An evocative portrait of youthful possibility, THE FAMILY JAMS follows Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and Vetiver as they tour the USA in 2004 playing their unique music for a newly growing audience. The film is an intimate portrait of life on the road for these young musicians early in their careers, playing tiny, obscure clubs and art galleries, but on the verge of larger success before their small, intimate vans are replaced by large, impersonal tour busses. Also featuring appearances and performances by Antony and the Johnsons, Espers, Meg Baird, The Pleased and Linda Perhacs.

Rotten Tomatoes Movie Reviews


  • Reviews Counted: 5
  • Fresh: 2
  • Rotten: 3
  • Average Rating: 5.2/10

Top Critics' Reviews

Fresh: The headliners have a penchant for intimate, largely acoustic songs, and in these settings - galleries, record stores and small, sweaty clubs - their gifts are on vivid, arresting display. – Andy Webster, New York Times, Apr 7, 2011

Rotten: Only a true fanatical follower of the "freak folk" musical scene with a high tolerance for artless verite camerawork will find much merit in Kevin Barker's extended home video. – Andrew Schenker, Village Voice, Apr 6, 2011

Rotten: The Family Jams is an edited home video, not a movie, and it's an especially annoying home video with delusions of artistic grandeur. – Chuck Bowen, Slant Magazine, Apr 13, 2011

Read More About This Movie On Rotten Tomatoes

Customer Reviews

Joanna, Dev, & Vetiver!

I really enjoyed this movie. If you are a Joanna and Devendra fan, I am sure you will too. To the super Joanna fans: you get to hear/see the beginnings of Cosmia in the movie! Don't miss it!

Just beautiful.

I've been waiting for this to be released for over two years, since it made the rounds at far flung film fests I could never make it to. There's something achingly simple about this film. It's a sepia-hued home movie from a family gathering you were too young to remember, a snapshot of something that passed beautifully like a thunderstorm in the night and you understand won't be coming back again. I like how close everything seems, the way Baker shoots. It's a passion project for sure, light years away from even regular 'fly on the wall' rock docs (I.e DIG) but the passion is palpable. Essential viewing for anyone with a passing interest in freak folk or anyone that loves the idea that behind every great batch of songs is a lasting trail of relationships. Jesus, I loved it.


One of the best documentaries I've ever seen. Such wonderful kinship between musicians! I literally broke down crying when they showed them talking about Joanna Newsom's friend dying in a car crash. Joanna Newsom is one of the most beautiful persons I've ever seen. Whether screaming a song with like a childlike sincereness, or fawning over a fan's 2 year old daughter, she exhibits some of the most beautiful characteristics in a human being I have ever seen.

Family Jams
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Customer Ratings

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