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Be Here to Love Me: A Film About the Life of Townes Van Zandt

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating


Be Here to Love Me - The Life of Townes Van Zandt Movie Poste

Be Here to Love Me - The Life of Townes Van Zandt Movie Poster (2005)

© Palm Pictures

The Bottom Line

Townes Van Zandt was known as one of "the greats" among songwriters, but he enjoyed little fame during his life.

Hard-core fans of Townes have seen some of this footage before. For new fans, friends of hard-core fans, or people who are just curious about the life of a singer/songwriter, this is an incredible introduction to a man and his music. The die-hards will be impressed with the rare footage they haven't seen. And everyone will leave the theatre feeling sad and lonely.


  • Some incredible rare footage of Townes playing in his living room
  • Townes' songs are thoughtfully used as backdrops for the story of his life


  • A couple of scenes and comments from fellow musicians could have been cut


  • A film about the life and life's work of one of Folk and alt.country's most revered songwriters
  • Insightful interviews with some of the most important people in Townes' life
  • A moving portrayal of the struggle and sadness that characterized Townes Van Zandt's work

Guide Review - Be Here to Love Me: A Film About the Life of Townes Van Zandt

The camera stares out the passenger-side window of a moving car, as the landscape rolls past. In the background we hear a telephone conversation between Townes Van Zandt and someone else. We know by the italicization of the subtitle font which voice belongs to Our Hero, and which belongs to a nameless other. Further in the background, Townes’ easy finger-picking pulls the scene along.

Then the fonts disappear, and all we hear above the sad droll of Townes’ guitar is the tired Texas accent of a man saying he thinks his life will run out long before his work does. After a pause, he adds, “I designed it that way.”

This is how Be Here to Love Me begins, and for the next 99 minutes, we’re taken on a long, windy highway, through the dust and mud of a man’s life, who just wasn’t made to face the world.

Townes’ life is related through a series of interviews, most notably with Guy Clark and Townes himself. There are also meaningful moments featuring Townes’ sons J.T. and Will, as well as a particularly touching moment with his daughter, Katie Bell.

If there was any doubt, this film makes clear that Townes Van Zandt was an incredible songwriter. Watching folks like Willie Nelson recall Townes’ memory with such reverence is proof of the weight of his legend. Anybody who’s ever so much as heard the name Townes Van Zandt should see this movie

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