Sundance Exclusive Review: The GoGo’s

Year: 2020

Runtime: 97 Minutes

Director: Alison Ellwood

By Rosa Parra

“The GoGo’s” is a documentary following the all-female rock band from the 1980s who wrote and played their own songs. They were also the first all-woman band to be managed by a woman. Told from the GoGo’s themselves (the original members and the current ones too), this documentary dives into the beginnings, hits, highs, lows, their disintegration, and their comeback.

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The documentary opens with an introduction to each member of the band. They state their name and their story on how and why they joined the band. Pictures of their younger selves will follow, leading to how they look now. I’ll be honest and confess I wasn’t knowledgable about the group and their origins. I’d heard some of their hits, but I wouldn’t connect the dots until this documentary began to unfold. Oddly I was under the impression that some of the hits from The GoGo’s were by The Runaways. I’m sure it’s happened to many of us where we listen to a song, and we automatically assume we know the artist (if not then I sincerely apologize for my ignorance). Although The Runaways was the original first all-women rock band, they didn’t compose their own music like The GoGo’s.

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The GoGo’s originated from Los Angeles, CA, setting an example to future female musicians who’d want to break down barriers in the world of Rock and Roll. Some of the members were playing in previous rock bands before joining the GoGo’s, and they witnessed first hand how they were never taken seriously nor respected simply because they’re women. Even after some of the members left their respective bands to join The GoGo’s, it would take hard work, and a few hits for these ladies could build up their reputation. They would be one of the first musicians to make a music video and lead the way for MTV.

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What starts as an all-female rock and roll band will slowly transition into a band who produce pop songs (instead of rock). Fame and success usually come with its consequences, and this group wasn’t the exception. Some members had battles with drug addiction, alcoholism creating tension between the members. The origin of some of their songs was interesting to learn, but a pattern would develop on creating the music, and some members weren’t too happy. With fame and success comes ambition, and the group wanted to accomplish more so they decided to fire their original manager so they could be managed by a company. This will be the beginning of a series of events leading to the break up of the band.

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It would be years before the ladies reunite to work on an album. This documentary feels like a well-earned tribute, but it mainly comes across as a campaign for the band to be inducted into the Rock N Roll Hall of Fame. With the number of hits in their repertoire, this group deserves to be in the Hall of Fame

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4 stars

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