Review: “Bill Cunningham New York”
For those unaware, the film’s subject, Bill Cunningham, is the street-style photographer who writes, shoots and even helps design his “On the Street” feature for The New York Times.
The documentary hits all the necessary points for a film that seeks to explore the life of a human subject, but it helps tremendously that Cunningham is so damned charming and — I rarely use this word to describe people — sweet in his demeanor that you get swept into this film’s narrative of a man who loves his work.
And I think that’s the most important reason to see this movie — we ought to be reminded of what it means to have a passion for something in our lives that transcends all other concerns. Indeed, we see that Cunningham’s love of his work has left him with an uncaring concern for his living quarters, his paycheck, his meals consumed and even a personal love life (which the film briefly — and emotionally — touches on).
I couldn’t personally help but want to find and pursue an interest with such great passion and achieve the clear joy Cunningham has at his work, but I doubt that I — or many of us — could or would do so at the cost of so many other things. The film leaves you wondering that if you want to be great at something, then does that mean you have to sacrifice everything else along the way? It is comforting to know, however, that Cunningham’s pursuit and life has given him great joy and surrounded him with appreciation and admiration from those of whom he’s touched, and photographed, through the decades.
I don’t think you have to be a fan of fashion, style, photography, journalism or documentaries to enjoy this film. If you have a desire to see a person driven and genuinely happy, then make it a priority to take 90 minutes of your time to see “Bill Cunningham New York”.
If you’re in Chicago, then consider going to watch the film this week at the Music Box Theatre. It is playing daily (through Thursday, June 16th) at 5 p.m. More information on showtimes and the film here.