_Danielson: a Family Movie is a documentary about unbridled creativity vs. accessibility, Christian faith vs. popular culture, underground music vs. survival, and family vs. individuality. The film follows Daniel Smith, an eccentric musician and visual artist, as he leads his four siblings and best friend to indie-rock stardom. Beginning in 1995 when the youngest band member was 11 years old, the Danielson Famile performs in white, vintage nurse costumes to symbolize the healing power of the Good News, a recurring subject matter. Though tepidly received by the Christian music world, the South Jersey farmland-bred clan is widely embraced by the mainstream independent music community, written about in Rolling Stone, Spin, the New York Times and elsewhere as an outsider curiosity backed up by innovative, experimental music.
But as with other family acts, and particularly those that don’t make much money, members of the band begin to seek out their own paths as they go through college and Daniel eventually faces the struggle to become viable as a solo act. Along the way he mentors an unknown singer-songwriter named Sufjan Stevens whose own subsequent success stands in stark contrast to the music world’s uneasy reception of Danielson just a few years prior. With production starting in 2002, at a high water mark for the band, all the drama is played out before the camera making Danielson: a Family Movie both engaging and entertaining._
This film was the only highlight of my day. It is incredible.