I was excited to be going into Ain’t In It For My Health completely cold. I will say I have never really paid a lick of attention (besides that which was put in front of me) to The Band ever in my modest existence on this planet. As happens in a lot of these situations, my lack of attention has handicapped me again as The Band’s music is an entity that must be experienced.
Ain’t In It For My Health focuses on drummer and vocalist Levon Helm. The film circles a lot around Levon’s home for its setting where we get to see this icon in his natural element. In this journey we get to see the man awakening again through working on his first album in 25 years. We meet the key members of his band, Larry Campbell and daughter Amy Helm who act to narrate this story along with trying to explain some of Levon’s inner demons going back to his time in The Band.
Ain’t In It For My Health just oozes a haunting nature during its entire running time. Maybe because Levon is in the twilight of his life and yet still partying to a certain degree (specifically a scene where Billy Bob Thornton is visiting his home). It has always shaken me when I see people in their later years drinking and smoking. I mean, anyone is allowed to do what they want, but I guess it is just foreign to me. In this we get to hear the man talk a lot about the past from his perspective. I just loved listening to Levon’s smoked charred voice. It is truly the sound of wisdom to me.
But the real star of Ain’t In It For My Health is the music! Oh, how this film moves through the music! From the classics to the new music being written during its filming, even a laymen like myself was smiling and waving my head. There is a particular scene in Ain’t In It For My Health where Levon and daughter Amy Helm are singing to Amy’s newborn son. It is literally to me the most important scene in this film and had me choked up for the rest of the film.
There are times in Ain’t In It For My Health that I literally found myself closing my eyes and humming along to the music being played. It is a beautiful tribute to an honest voice and artist.
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Scott W. Lambert