Film FestivalsMovie ReviewsHot Docs 2019: Gordon Lightfoot: If You Could Read My Mind Review

BenScangaMay 6, 201970/100
Gordon Lightfoot, Randy Bachman, Alec Baldwin
Martha Kehoe, Joan Tosoni
Martha Kehoe, Joan Tosoni
Running Time
91 minutes
Release Date
April 27th, 2019 (Hot Docs)
Overall Score
Rating Summary
Gordon Lightfoot: If You Can Read My Mind offers a brief look inside the world of a cult sensation that was enjoyable to watch but it will be hard to remember the film a week after my viewing of it.
This will be one of many reviews during this year’s Hot Docs Film Festival, to keep up with our latest coverage, click here.

Gordon Lightfoot is a Canadian icon that will always be remembered in books and legends forever. He put Canada on the map and ultimately proved that we from an area that can breed incredibly talented and thoughtful songwriters. This new documentary that discusses his life and how he lives in the present doesn’t dive all that deep into the true workings of the genius man, but it doesn’t weave a very compelling story about a boy who loves music, living out his dreams in the limelight.

The reason this documentary works so well despite its lack of interrogation towards its guest and primary focus is most likely due to the fact that Lightfoot is undeniably a cool dude. A fair amount of this film is watching the man himself stumble around his high-class suburban home, smoking cigarettes and mumbling about watering his 12-strings. His aurora, charming self-depreciation and amusing selflessness is just far too intoxicatingly entertaining to be denied in the grander scheme of “normal” subjects. It’s very clear that Tosoni and Kehoe followed Lightfoot around freely and that he allowed them to document whatever they please. We as an audience are enchanted with quite a few humorous conversations and meaningless scenes that are entertaining but don’t add a lot to the grand scheme.

There’s not really too much to discuss here about Gordon Lightfoot: If You Can Read My Mind; you know exactly what you’re getting into and what you’re going to get with a film like this and you get exactly what you expect – nothing more, nothing less.

In hindsight, the film may seem more essential for a broader audience’s viewing if the filmmakers dared to challenge Lightfoot a little bit, instead of blissfully allowing him to narrate his life and celebrate him. All in all, a perfect film for a rainy Sunday afternoon.

*still courtesy of Hot Docs*

Follow me on twitter @ScangaBen and on letterboxd @theccritic.

If you liked this, please read our other reviews here and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter or Instagram or like us on Facebook.


Follow us on Twitter

Blog Stats

  • 852,914 hits

Subscribe to Blog via Email

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 8,111 other subscribers

%d bloggers like this: