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NME Afterprint - Indigo Girls: It's Only Life After All (Review)

Emily Saliers and Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls. Photo Emily Saliers and Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls. Photo by Michael Michael Lavine.
Emily Saliers and Amy Ray of The Indigo Girls. Photo by Michael Lavine.

I remember sneaking away in high school to a nearby park with friends, swinging on the swings, and singing Melissa Etheridge and the Indigo Girls until it was time to go home. Amy Ray and Emily Saliers filled my high school years with music that had a message. But, for some of my friends, their words and presence were something bigger. Being openly queer while creating a sound that would resonate was a mission for them. We see the progress and memories in the new documentary "It's Only Life After All."

The documentary, which premiered at Sundance in 2023, is being released in 120 theaters today. Directed by Alexandria Bombach, you get a peek into a time capsule of Emily and Amy's life as they develop this collaboration, a 40-year kaleidoscope of history between two friends who love making music together.

Their music inspires many, which you learn through emotional fan testimony sharing how their music has made a difference. They had a challenging moment in the film when asked how it feels that many of their fans believe their music saved their lives. "I know we wrote the songs, and I know the phenomenon, to me it is…it's not just us," Ray says in the documentary. "I'm not trying to deflect it. I really have this mystical opinion. I'm talking about synchronous and like, critical mass. People feeling the same response to that song, at the same time, and you just have the sense that you're being held by something."

Bombach shared with us in 2023 why she was inspired to bring this story to the masses. "They're such inspiring people - they embody so much of the values I hold and want to hold in my life. And that's a story that feels really important to tell right now."

The film honors the music these two women created and the power it has for many of their fans. It also talks about the mentors that help guide their music, taking that knowledge and creating musical moments that tell the listener you're not alone.

"Music is such a mysterious force. It's so physical - so in our bodies. I know what it feels like to have music save you at a particular time," says Saliers in the film. "But I never feel, "Ah, I can write this song that can change someone's life." It's just - music is so powerful, isn't it? Your life hooked into our journey, and we met in that journey, and - that is awesome."

It is the ultimate fan film for those who live and breathe The Indigo Girls, and it is a behind-the-scenes look at how they met and their journey of being the harmonizing, musical powerhouses we've come to know - all while being themselves. It includes never-before-seen footage of moments captured throughout their career and a deep dive into the experiences that the duo would have done differently and lessons learned.

This beautiful tribute will leave you running to your stereo to sit down and listen to your favorite Indigo Girls tunes, remembering when two individuals on the other side of that speaker understood the pain you were feeling and helped you heal.

"It's Only Life After All" is in theaters now and playing at The Guild Cinema April 16-18. Tickets are available at's-only-life-after-all---a-brand-new-doc-on-the-iconic-band.


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