“Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song” Documentary Review

“This is Purgatory.”

2022 | USA | 115 minutes
Directors: Daniel Geller, Dayna Goldfine

In 2019, the documentary Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love was released, about the relationship between Marianne Ihlen and Leonard Cohen. Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song focuses more on the genesis of Cohen’s song “Hallelujah” from its initial obscurity to the huge impact it would eventually have on mainstream audiences and a new generation of singers alike.

Initially, due to drama at the record label, Columbia Records didn’t want to release his third album Various Positions which contained “Hallelujah”. Cohen wrote over a hundred verses for “Hallelujah” and even weaved “Coachella” into the song when he performed at the festival in 2009. Everyone from Bob Dylan, Jeff Buckley, and Brandi Carlile championed the song; there’s archival footage of several singers performing the song. The documentary also chronicles Cohen’s spiritual journey. It’s pretty interesting overall, but is also very, very specific. Be prepared to hear the song just about non-stop for almost two hours.

Limited theatrical release: July 8, 2022

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