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Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song; Grade: B


Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song is a documentary centering around poet, song writer, and recording artist Leonard Cohen. In this documentary we’ll discover his entire music career from beginning to end, while also uncovering his song he made in 1984 Hallelujah which is still celebrated almost forty years today.


First time I experienced the song Hallelujah was around five years old, attending Shrek at the theater with my father, who had me ditch class to see the film a couple times… I say couple because I demanded to see that film again. I actually vividly remember that scene as a child, as that song would struck me so deeply despite not knowing much of the meaning of the song or not knowing the words and such. I’m not gonna lie my expectations for this film were fairly on par to average, as I wasn’t expecting much other than a traditional documentary centered around a musician of some kind. Turns out: This documentary left a grand impression on me.


This documentary has quite a few stories to offer: A story about a musician, a story about a song leaving a massive impact on civilization, and especially a story about the deeper meaning within life. 


The film is more involved with Leonard Cohen as a musician, rather than telling his personal life as we only see glimpses of his personal life. As partaking Leonard Cohen as a musician: He’s for sure a hidden treasure to the art form. His songs truly goes beyond the normal standard for music, as it almost felt like uncovering someone’s biography, as the songs are really well written but more so personal. The presentation may not be as appealing considering Leonard Cohen doesn’t have the most outstanding voice, but one can’t help to admire and invest their time hearing what this man has to say, considering his words are extremely worth of value and importance.


The story surrounding the song Hallelujah was extremely enjoyable to experience, as this song really came a long way to where it is currently today. At first Hallelujah started out as a song included in a failed record, as Leonard Cohen’s record label simply wouldn’t release it in the states. It’s amazing how Hallelujah almost never saw the light and day. Fortunately the song somehow gotten to the hands of Billy Joel as he sang it once at a live concert, which led to many many artists singing their own covers and own versions of their own, which that song began to age extremely well over the course of time.


While the experience of how Hallelujah rising to it’s glory, uncovering the lyrics and meaning of the song was on par as well. As your mind learns of the words in this song whether it be the spiritual side or of course the more intimate romantic side… It really show cases the true meaning of Hallelujah and what it can mean to a person. In my opinion: The whole meaning around Hallelujah is simply the Purest of Love; Whether it be spiritually speaking or physically speaking. That’s why I always say without Love… Is there really a point in existing at all?! What’s also fascinating about the song is how many verses were written for the song and how long it took for that song to be made… A grand reminder to develop the art of patience, as sure enough you’ll be able to achieve massive success.


When it comes to the deeper meaning about life in this story: I feel it showcases the importance that life truly never stops for anyone at any particular time. I feel as human beings, we tend to believe if we’re not doing this at this age or aren’t there at this age… That means life as we know is over and that we failed. With Leonard Cohen's story it truly shows how blasphemous most of those claims are, as there is no such thing as a deadline for anything in life. Anything in life can be achieved at any given moment, one must continue moving forward and remained humble and patient which is what Leonard Cohen did. 


Most of Leonard Cohen major accomplishments didn’t come till at a later age, I mean look at Hallelujah for example… That song didn’t become the culturally impactful song it is today over night, it took many years for that song to be fully appreciated for it’s value. So in a way this documentary can be an uplifting film, that no matter where your life is currently at the moment, that it’ll certainly not be your last stop as things will eventually change with time. To me that element of the story was quite special to watch, as watching this extremely older version of Lenoard Cohen at 70+ years of age, performing on stage getting the full recognition he rightfully deserved was heart warming even.


Overall, Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, a Journey, a Song was a dope film. I highly recommend checking this one out, I’m sure this documentary we’ll provide some inspiration for your life while experiencing a fascinating story along with it. -Mitch Smietana

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