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How To Watch: ‘Love To Love You, Donna Summer’ Documentary

The film is co-directed by Summer’s daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, and the Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.

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Donna Summer - Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Donna Summer - Photo: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

The new documentary Love To Love You, Donna Summer, about the life and times of the dance-soul queen, will be available to stream from May 20. Here’s our guide to how to watch the Polygram Entertainment film, co-directed by Summer’s daughter, Brooklyn Sudano, and the Oscar-winning filmmaker Roger Ross Williams.

Where to stream

Love to Love You, Donna Summer will be available to stream on HBO and HBO Max on May 20 in the U.S. and on Crave in Canada, while in the U.K., it will air on Sky Documentaries and NOW on May 27, with more international streaming dates to come.

What’s it about

Love to Love You, Donna Summer is a deeply personal portrait of the Queen of Disco. The film offers an in-depth look at the iconic artist as her voice and artistry takes her from the avant-garde music scene in Germany, to the glitter and bright lights of dance clubs in New York.

A deeply personal portrait of Summer on and off stage, the film features a wealth of photographs and never-before-seen home video footage – often shot by Summer herself. Through a rich window into the surprising range of her artistry, from songwriting to painting, Love to Love You, Donna Summer explores the highs and lows of a life lived on the global stage.

Along with her close family and friends, the film also features a familiar voice in the trailer, one of Sir Elton John, who recalls the first time her heard Donna.“I remember when ‘I Feel Love’ came on at Studio 54, you just stopped in your tracks, you thought, what is this?”

Theatrical screenings

The documentary had its world premiere at the Berlinale, formerly the Berlin International Film Festival, in February. It was nominated for the Berlinale Documentary Award and the Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival, where it made its US debut in March. Love To Love You, Donna Summer was also screened yesterday (26) at the Independent Film Festival of Boston, and tomorrow it’s scheduled for the Hot Docs International Film Festival in Toronto, for which tickets are available here. It will be screened at the Doc Edge Festival in Wellington, New Zealand on June 7.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer | Official Trailer | HBO

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Critical Acclaim

Variety’s Owen Gleiberman describes the film as “an eye-opening portrait of the ambitious, vivacious, yet troubled woman [Summer] was,” noting that it “takes us up close to Donna Summer: her demons, her desire to be an artist, the sense that when she was ‘Donna Summer,’ it was a character she was playing.”

Deadline’s Matthew Carey reached a similar conclusion, writing: “The film makes the interesting observation that Summer ‘thought in theater’ and recorded songs as though she were embodying a character. ‘I approach it as an actress,’ she explains. ‘I’m not trying to be me.’”

EyeForFilm’s Amber Wilkinson, in a four-star review, says that the film “has perhaps the best prism of all to observe the life of the Queen of Disco through – that of her family…the lingering sensation is not of a sinner or a saint but of a woman as multifaceted and sparkling as a glitterball, fractured in some ways but still quite brilliant.”

Listen to the best of Donna Summer on Apple Music and Spotify.

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