Review: ‘Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive’ is a film by Betsy Schechter that salutes the disco star

Gloria Gaynor. Photo Credit: Betsy Schechter

“Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive,” is a film directed by Betsy Schechter, which pays tribute to the iconic disco diva Gloria Gaynor.

It had its world premiere on Friday, June 9th at the Tribeca Film Festival in Manhattan.

This film follows the second act of disco trailblazer Gloria Gaynor as she pursues her decades-long dream of writing and recording a Christian music album.

Gaynor made history in becoming the first and sole artist to even win the 1980 Grammy Award for “Best Disco Recording” for her seminal anthem “I Will Survive.”

43 years after her inaugural Grammy win, Gaynor’s career has been stalled by health issues, as well as abuse and mismanagement from her now former husband.

While she always believed in the perennial power and relevance of the song’s lyrics; they were never more impactful to Gaynor herself until her 60s when she faced major upheavals in her own life.

For half a century, Gaynor has inspired millions around the globe with her signature tune, to the point where it became a lifestyle.

This moving documentary chronicles her struggles with ageism and financial ruin and through the power of faith and resilience embarks on a journey to not only “survive” but also to grow and thrive. Ms. Gaynor is not afraid to be raw and vulnerable, and her vulnerability is the audience’s reward.

In 2020, Gaynor won her second career Grammy Award for “Best Roots Gospel Album” for her critically-acclaimed gospel album “Testimony,” proving that she is like fine wine, where she only gets better with age and experience.

The Verdict

Overall, “Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive” is a beautiful movie by Betsy Schechter, which is a moving homage to the disco queen. It underscores how the power of faith and prayer has helped in her life (especially in overcoming all of those trials and tribulations) and it molded her into the music icon that she is today.

Most importantly, this film proves that Gloria Gaynor deserves to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in the future for being a true disco maverick and for creating music whose originality, impact, and influence have changed the music landscape.

Review: ‘Gloria Gaynor: I Will Survive’ is a film by Betsy Schechter that salutes the disco star
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