John Farnham: Finding the Voice (2023)

92% – Critics
98% – Audience

John Farnham: Finding the Voice Storyline

JOHN FARNHAM: FINDING THE VOICE tells the untold story of an Australian music icon. In this first authorised biopic, we follow Farnham’s life from the quiet suburbs of Melbourne to ’60s pop fame, through incredible highs and lows, and ultimately to record-breaking success as ‘Australia’s Voice’. John Farnham was 38 years old when Whispering Jack was released. Nobody ever questioned that Farnham could sing — but the challenge to find his artistic voice and become Australia’s most trusted and beloved performer took half a lifetime. Whispering Jack is still the highest selling Australian album of all time, and this powerful documentary tracks the personal and public journey that has made Farnham Australia’s greatest and most beloved musical artist.

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John Farnham: Finding the Voice Movie Reviews

Superb tribute- Nostalgic true story of endurance and belief in talent

My Review – Finding The Voice My Rating 9/10 .

In Cinemas now There are very few Australian entertainers that command the affection and respect that John Farnham and the late Dame Olivia Newton – John have experienced and deserved over both their long careers .

It’s interesting to note the similarities that both these iconic Australian entertainers and great friends shared together. Both were child immigrants to this country from England , both were born within 12 months of each other and both loved performing together . I remember their wonderful Main Event Concert in Sydney in 1999 in which they performed with another great voice Anthony Warlow . They also toured together in April 2015 in The Two Strong Hearts Tour performing their hits over 5 decades .

It’s understandable that Olivia Newton – John’s friendship with John Farnham and their mutual admiration for each other is often mentioned in this documentary as well as his loyal and endearing friendship with his manager Glen Wheatley plus the parting of the ways with his initial manager Darryl Sambell who is described in the film as not a very nice human being Glen Wheatley who sadly died in 2022 from Covid 19 complications long association with Farnham features in Act 3 of this amazing comeback story and is narrated with great archival footage by his widow Gaynor Martin.

I think this finely researched and entertaining tribute documentary is best described in three acts because it begins with Act 1 Johnny Farnham’s rise to fame after his initial hit Sadie the Cleaning Lady one of the biggest selling single hits ever released in Australia in 1967 when Farnham was only 18 .

Act 2 – was most surprising to me as I remember seeing Johnny Farnham perform in Leagues Clubs and dance venues and enjoyed both his stage performances in the musicals Pippin (1974) and Charlie Girl (1972 in Sydney .

I didn’t realise this was his downward spiral period which lead to record companies and radio stations refusing to play his records.

In the movie industry they refer to a star on the way down as box office poison I suppose in the music industry they refer to it as turntable terminal or just a has been?

This Act includes the 3 years from 1982 to 1985 that John Farnham replaced Glen Shorrock as leader singer in The Little River Band which wasn’t a happy period for the singer or the band .

Act 3 – John Farnham rises triumphantly like a Phoenix under the expert management of his friend Glen Wheatley . This is where he finds his true voice in 1986 with his solo single “Your the Voice” that held the number one position for 25 weeks and lead to the 3rd highest selling album in Australian history titled Whispering Jack that also bought long overdue International success for John Farnham.

Poppy Stockell who co wrote Finding The Voice with Paul Clarke also directed this 3 Act tribute to John Farnham . I hope Poppy receives the recognition she greatly deserves for this affectionate and cleverly edited 90 minute tribute.

This film documentary is not just a scrapbook or timeline of about the entertainer who has become one of Australia’s best-known and most popular performers.

John Farnham is the only Australian artist to have a number-one record album or single in five consecutive decades echoing that of Cliff Richard the UK.

I recommend seeing this film while it’s in the Cinema before it streams it has greater emotional impact than most similar documentaries about famous entertainers the archival footage and commentary is edited beautifully.

The Voice of a Nation

This may very well be the best music documentary of 2023. Farnsy has been a household name in Australia for decades, and rightly so. I never knew much about him, but everyone knows his iconic voice by sound. Exploring his upbringing, childhood, and the struggles he faced to get where he is today is a very emotional roller-coaster from start to finish. The friends he made along the way, the people who stuck by him, and those who didn’t, it’s all here in this amazingly produced film detailing the personal life of John Farnham – Australia’s voice. If you’re a fan of his work, either casually or dedicated, I implore you to see this documentary.

What a gloriousvsurprise

I don’t write reviews but I felt compelled to review this movie.

I went along for my husband because he likes Aussie music. But I am not a big fan.

I was drawn into the story and the background to how John Farnham became the legend he is. The earlier years were such a hard slog with very little recognition. It was only as he neared his 40s that his belief in himself as well as his manager and friend’s belief that things changed.

So really this story is about his struggle to be seen as a great singer and musician. It is also about the enduring friendship between him and Glenn Wheatley.

By the end I was tearing up thinking of his struggle and realising how good his music is. Which is more poignant now because of the loss of Glenn and Olivia Newton John last year. Then came throat cancer and the realisation that he will never sing again.

A very emotional tribute that is well worth watching. It also made me realise that we should be supporting our local bands at the pub or any venue.