- Hamish Hart
Slim and I (2020) Review
Updated: Oct 18, 2021
IN ONE OF the largest attended screenings of the year, movie-goers at the Longreach Star Cinema were treated to an inside look at the jubilant journey of on and offstage couple, Slim Dusty and Joy McKean.
Despite high expectations potentially leading to an ultimately disappointing affair, Slim and I managed to surpass all assumed slipups to bring audiences one of the greatest Australian films ever conceived.
The film opens with director Kriv Stenders sitting down with multiple people who were apart or have been influenced by legendary Aussie musician, Slim Dusty, and his over 100 recorded albums, including country icons Keith Urban, Missy Higgins, Kasey Chambers and Slim’s wife and manager for over 50 years, Joy McKean.
Each person describes Slim’s exponential influence on Australian music and how national folk and yodelling would not have been possible nowadays if not for the road paved for them by him and Joy.
Slim and I chronologically travels through their time together, beginning with Slim’s childhood days to when he first laid eyes on Joy, all the way up until his untimely death in 2003, aged-26, following a two-year battle with cancer.
While all interviewees do a fine job at expressing their gratitude and thoughts on the Aussie icon, Joy McKean was, rightfully, the standout in the film. Her undying love and commitment for Slim during the pair’s trials and tribulations is expertly told through McKean’s mannerisms and, at times, shaky voice.
Many assumed the film would feature actors portraying Slim and Joy. However, it was a pleasant surprise and a nice change of pace to witness a down-to-earth documentary through face-to-face interviews and slow, methodical storytelling.
With a lot of music documentaries such as Bohemian Rhapsody, Rocketman and Walk the Line opting to readapt the story, Slim and I boldly decided to truthfully re-tell their timeless tale with as much reliability as possible.
While the film features great content, Slim and I tends to drag during the third chapter which cause myself and many others to lose slight interest towards the end.
However, despite pacing problems with the conclusion, Slim and I is a must-watch for any Slim Dusty fan. Joy’s thoughts on her husband beautifully encapsulates how and why they stuck together for over 50 years.
Needless to say, if you’re ever at a pub with no beer and talking with a mate (possibly named Duncan) make sure to recommend him this true-blue documentary.