Carole King: Natural Woman

Rated: Not rated. | Running Time: 53 Minutes
From: Virgil Films
On Digital Download, Blu-ray, and DVD.

The line in the publicity release pretty much sums up Carole King: Natural Woman – “A celebration of the legendary singer-songwriter’s life and career…” I wish I could write something more descriptive but at the end of the 53 minute documentary there isn’t anything shocking, there really isn’t anything controversial, but rather it’s a tidy look at mostly nice things in King’s life, with a lot of accolades from those she associated with, and you get a glimpse at how a songwriter’s life is way different from the person who craves the spotlight on stage.

“Natural Woman” moves nicely along the life of Carole King, starting with her early life, developing her craft, and being a part of a “songwriting factory” where she, along with her then husband, Gerry Goffin, churned out hit song after hit song, basically in a “songwriting cubicle” where they could just come up with hits like “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow,” “One Fine Day,” and “The Loco-Motion.” It was almost like “Hey Carole and Gerry, we need a new song for The Shirrelles.” “Okay, give us a few hours!”

Carole, though, seemed to crave nature more than Gerry, starting with a move to the suburbs which spawned Gerry’s ode to not being a fan of the suburban life, “Pleasant Valley Sunday,” eventually to California, and then finding Idaho. Along the way there was Tapestry, working with James Taylor, and a lot of, as she puts it, trying “to get out of the way and let the process drive whatever is driving me.”

Nothing much is shocking in the documentary, the songwriting team of Barry Mann and Cynthia Weil do a lot of reminiscing, and there’s a lot of old footage of Carole explaining how some of the songs came to be. Yup, pretty much it’s a lot of Carole King is awesomeness, i.e, a celebration of her.

At the end of it all I wanted more about Carole King. It’s nice to honor her, but I have a feeling her life is a little more fascinating than “she wrote this song, and that song, and oh yea, this song, too. And, oh yea, there’s also a Broadway play about her called ‘Beautiful – The Carole King Musical.'” The documentary is enough to make you say “Oh, yea, I remember that song, too,” but not enough to make you understand what makes her tick. 3 stars out of 5 for “Carole King: Natural Woman.”

That’s it for this one! L8R!!