My wife and I saw Western Stars yesterday. This is a movie made around Bruce Springsteen’s latest album of the same name. We are Bruce fans. I believe that may be a prerequisite of fully enjoying this movie.

The movie is a vehicle for Bruce to explain the depth of emotions and dreams he has when writing the songs on the album. There are deep and often times dark feelings inside of Bruce. He described this album as having started when he was a boy and being a metaphor for the human conflict of needing to be a part of something yet yearning for wide open spaces. Wow!

The movie, much like the music, often uses grand landscapes to portray his feelings yet it is performed in a fairly intimate venue - the hayloft of his California horse barn. While a pretty big room, it becomes much smaller with a 30 piece orchestra and a band inside.

Throughout the movie, Bruce gives the audience insights into how he has seen his life and what he was thinking about, or feeling, while writing each song. To a fan wanting to know all there is about Bruce, that was enjoyable. Because of the venue, the music, which follows the track list of the album, takes on a ‘wish I was there’ aspect. While the orchestra creates soaring and grand soundscapes which match the grand landscape portrayed in the movie, the venue gives it a feel of togetherness - perfectly portraying the conflict of wanting to feel a part of something yet yearning for the great wide escape of the west.

The highlights for me were when his wife Patti played guitar and sang with Bruce. The song Stones was especially moving as Patti took on joint singing duties. As a duo singing about the pain that lies create in a relationship, it took on a powerful moment. Bruce admitted in an interview that he doesn’t know why he didn’t think of doing that for the album because it may have been the highlight of the entire movie.

Sorry to ramble. This is not an uplifting movie. It is thoughtful and deep and requires work to fully appreciate. As a Bruce fan, I learned even more about his troubled mind and the deep love and appreciation he has for Patti and those that have helped him along his journey.