By: Russ Matthews
The name John Farnham brings a multitude of songs to the minds of most Australians.
It would not be a stretch to say that this singer epitomises the term icon within the psyche of most who grew up in Australia from the 80s to the present. He has been given the title of Australia’s Voice and has sung with some of the biggest artists in and outside the Sunburnt Country. Documentary filmmaker Poppy Stockell was given the honour of documenting his illustrious career through the highs and lows of his decades of singing.
This reviewer grew up in North America and has only been introduced to John Farnham in recent years. His name does not have the same impact on my life as on my Australian friends. Yet, for me this documentary captured the alluring mystique of this Aussie battler as he attempts to overcome his teen pop status of the 60’s and record the most successful album in Australian history, Whispering Jack. Told through the voices of his closest friends and some of the most recognisable musical stars like Olivia Newton-John, this singer’s story proves to be as Australian as the man himself.
Stockell shows the humanity behind the legend while inspiring other artists to keep fighting for the sake of their art. Each interview opens the door to a personal side of Farnham’s life that does not pull any punches and exposes the beauty and viciousness of this industry. All the while showing how this legendary musician continued on with the aid of close friends who believed in him even when he had given up on his career. This hero’s journey gives the audience a glimpse into the reality of John Farnham’s life without diminishing the quality of his spirit.
John Farnham: Finding the Voice is not merely for fans of the artist; instead it gives his faithful followers the personal side they may not have known. And it pulls back the curtain on this man and his career for those of us who may not have known who he was going into the theatre. This journey will solidify his place in the hearts of those who love him while motivating new listeners to listen in to the Voice.
REEL DIALOGUE: How Do You Remain Humble In the Public Eye?
One thing that stands out about John Farnham is his genuineness and humility within his flawed humanity. This film allows audiences to see the human experiences of this artist, who spends various lengths of time in the public eye. The interest from Australian audiences could lead to many placing this musician on a pedestal even with all the challenges he experienced in his lifetime.
To a lesser degree, we all experience this as we progress through life. Success can come from the arts, academics, business, or other endeavours, but how do we deal with the lower points in life?
Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. James 4:10
The issue comes down to where we place our worth and identity. Suppose you put your trust in the accolades of others and in achieving goals. In that case, this will lead to eventual disappointment and depression. As seen throughout the Bible and in the words of James, the solution is to place your trust in the Lord for your worth. If all you do is done for the honour of the Lord, regardless of how mankind responds to it, God will encourage you. Even though the good and bad times will come, the Lord’s support will be the constant that can sustain you.
Article supplied with thanks to City Bible Forum.
Images: Publicity stills
About the author: Russ Matthews is a film critic at City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue. He has a passion for film and sparking spiritual conversations.