Leonard Cohen: I’m Your Man

Rated 4.0

You may be surprised to learn that this fawning portrait of an arty, intellectual Jew was produced by Mel Gibson. Who knew he had such impeccable taste? Cinematically, Lian Lunson’s film isn’t much to write home about, but any Leonard Cohen documentary risks inelegance by contrast to its subject’s artistic example. Though her movie stutters with awe (a common enough response), Lunson has no trouble revealing the classy songwriter for what he is: a yearning heart, an active mind and a genuine article. The essential if too sparely used ingredient is an intimate interview with Cohen himself, narrating a few stories of his life and his creative process. The gravy is the varied group of Cohen appreciators—Nick Cave, Antony, Rufus and Martha Wainwright, and others—who assembled for a tribute show last year to sing his praises and his songs. The mystery spice is the pleasure to be had from witnessing Bono as a humbled fanboy. Cohen says a lot of his rueful, tuneful music is about responding to beauty, and it shows.