Ever wonder exactly how Ed Sheeran's Grammy-winning, bestselling album ÷ came together? Well, even if you didn't, there's now a documentary all about it, and so far critical reaction is pretty tepid. While there's no denying that Sheeran is a talented, popular musician who can write the living hell out of a love song, the film apparently fails to find anything else to say about him. It doesn't get into his personal life. It doesn't get into his substance abuse issues. It doesn't even get into that whole TLC/"No Scrubs"/"Shape Of You" debacle. Instead it's about Sheeran, well, recording the album for an hour and a half. And it was directed by his cousin, Murray Cummings.
"Who else but Ed Sheeran fans, after all, would have even a passing interest in seeing Songwriter, a cozy in-house study of the unlikely British megastar’s creative process, directed by his own cousin?" asks Variety of the "for fans only" film.
Less generously, The Hollywood Reporter speculates that "fans and non-fans alike will be disappointed by this thin, elusive backstage snapshot." Not to put too fine a point on it, and we certainly don't mean to be mean, but the THR review concludes that the film, "looks and sounds fine, it just skimps on its basic duty to inform and entertain viewers." Burn.
Over at The Guardian, the film, which recently premiered at the Berlin Film Festival, apparently made a bit more of an impression. "It does...show that Ed is not the wokest guy around, with that freshly laundered Hooters T-shirt of his," notes the review. "It convincingly shows Sheeran to be a restlessly, even obsessively creative songwriter: that is the focus of the movie." Well, sure. It's called Songwriter and delivers on its promise.
Almost every write-up notes the moment that Sheeran tells the camera that his aim is to be "bigger than Adele." And on that ambitious note, let's all go listen to some Adele.