‘Wynonna Judd: Between Hell and Hallelujah’ Review: The Show Must Go On

As portrayed in the new documentary Wynonna Judd: Between Hell and Hallelujah, country artist Wynonna Judd experiences brutal real-time suffering. Her mother and her longtime singing partner, Naomi Judd, committed suicide last year. In director Patti Ivins Specht’s film, Wynonna is left to pick up her work.

The film’s wistful opening frames are hauntingly emotional, showing the two early women who played as Judd conversing. Yes, and Specht’s film largely omits that history in favor of sweeping statements about the importance of perseverance and a strong support system in the face of tragedy.

The documentary, which captured the singer on tour she was to share with Naomi, seems content to exist primarily as a lifeline for others who have experienced loss. When actress Ashley Judd shows up, it’s clear they’re working on a relationship, but it’s unclear why they should be. When flipping through, the action was heartbreakingly specific.

The rest of “Between Hell and Hallelujah” will be a tour diary focused on the energetic performances of the Hallmark films. Wynonna powers the song with admirable grit and grace, but Speccht’s approach is awkwardly methodical, awkwardly vague, and fails to ignite enough of her unguided emotions. Without the rich detail that brings songs like “Fly’s on the Butter” by The Judds to life, the film plays more like a country song with more choruses than verses.

Wynonna Judd: Between Hell and Hallelujah
Unrated. Running time: 1 hour 40 minutes. Watch on Paramount+.

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