SXSW Review: Diane Warren: Relentless Writes a Prolific Portrait

SXSW Review: Diane Warren: Relentless Writes a Prolific Portrait

©Courtesy of Broken Road Production

A story is only as good as its characters. Hollywood has long embraced that mantra, particularly in crafting the ideas that are featured in its films and in the soundtracks that accompany them. Emmy-nominated documentarian Bess Kargman has done just that with her new feature, Diane Warren: Relentless, about the titular Grammy-winning musician.

The revealing biographical documentary highlights how the eponymous songwriter is one of the most prolific and unique musical characters of all time through Kargman’s personal lens. As the director and a producer on the movie, she chronicled Warren’s professional successes in an intimate and captivating way.

Diane Warren: Relentless highlights the titular musician’s unparalleled track record of penning mega-hits for industry giants over the past four decades. Boasting 15 Academy Award nominations – which makes her the most Oscar-nominated songwriter of all time – as well as an Honorary Academy Award, Grammy, Emmy and two Golden Globe Awards, Warren has earned her place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and in the Songwriters Hall of Fame.

The film, which is filled with the songwriter’s signature humor, also shows a rarely seen glimpse into the her personal life and underdog journey to where she is today. Driven by a distinctive songwriting approach and an exceptional work ethic, Warren has gone on to collaborate with such singers as Cher, Lady Gaga, Leann Rimes, Jennifer Hudson, Gloria Estefan and Kesha. The tracks they have released during the four decades since Warren launched her career have showcased her creative genius.

The film is guided by new intimate interviews with the songwriter and her colleagues, which were shot by cinematographer Jenna Rosher. The discussions are joined by insightful clips and photographs from the scribe’s career and personal life, as well as a reflective score. As a result, Diane Warren: Relentless reveals a captivating personal narrative that amplifies her musical legacy.

Lady Gaga, Rimes and Hudson offer some of the most noteworthy recollections about Warren in the documentary to discuss their relationship with Warren. Through their discussions on how the writer penned such tunes for them as Til It Happens to You, How Do I Live and I’ll Fight, the singers shared how they channeled all of their collective frustration and pain into their vocation.

In one of the movie’s most gripping scenes, Warren intimately discusses her natural bond with Lady Gaga as they recorded her song Til It Happens to You together. The song appeared on the soundtrack for the 2015 documentary The Hunting Ground, which deals with campus rape in the U.S. For its powerful message, the track was ultimately nominated for Best Original Song at the 2016 Academy Awards.

In Diane Warren: Relentless, the scribe courageously divulged that she was inspired to pen Til It Happens to You following her own experience with sexual assault. The scene is a powerful moment that hints that her songwriting is much more personal than she initially wants the public to believe.

The film is not just a recollection of Warren’s current success as a songwriter, but is also as a reflection of broader themes of resilience as she pursued her dreams, despite the obstacles she faced. Kargman and the documentary’s editors – Dava Whisenant and Jeffrey Elmont – skillfully built up the suspense surrounding those challenges, which emphasizes how long the musician takes with opening up to others.

Comment (0)


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here