“Ed Sheeran: The Sum Of It All” | Disney+ Original Review
Following on from the success of collaborations with some of the world’s most popular artists, including Miley Cyrus, Bono, Taylor Swift and Beyonce, Disney has teamed up with Ed Sheeran for a four-episode documentary series, called “The Sum of It All”.
This new documentary takes a look at Ed Sheeran’s career, from a busking singer on the streets of England, to a global superstar who has sold out Wembley Stadium over a dozen times. Each episode of this documentary is just over half an hour long and generally focuses on one core issue, as when Ed had signed onto make this documentary, little did he know how tough the next year would be, following some major life-changing news, that would become one of the most challenging periods of his life, with his wife getting cancer and his best friend dying.
While all of this was going on, Ed also was continuing to sell out stadiums around the world and began work on his forthcoming album, Subtract, which comes out later this week. Throughout this documentary, we get to see a glimpse into Ed’s life, with his friends and family, which isn’t always easy to watch, as while Ed continues to march on, creating new music and entertaining the world, the impact of everything going on in his life is very evident. On many occasions, throughout this documentary, I was brought to tears, because you could feel his emotions coming through the screen. Ed’s a very real and humble artist, which this documentary shows off. He loves to write and perform his music. It’s his passion and something he has been driven by since he was a kid. Adding home family videos and other footage from across his career gives us, the viewer, a deep insight into his life.
This is a very powerful and honest documentary, Ed and his wife, don’t hold back and are very honest. Ed shares his emotions with the world, not just through his songs, but we get to see his honest reaction to the risk of losing his wife to cancer and, especially, losing his best friend. His latest album, Subtract, is one of the ways he has handled all of these issues, putting his thoughts onto paper and sharing it with the world. Seeing Ed breaking down on stage while trying to perform “Eyes Closed” for the first time is heartbreaking and extremely emotional, since it certainly brought back memories and feelings for those friends and family that I’ve lost throughout my life.
While there are lots of heavy emotional moments throughout the documentary, there are also lots of uplifting moments and behind-the-scenes footage, such as filming the music videos for the new album, writing new music, performing on stage and hanging out with his friends and family.
But one of the many things I enjoyed about this documentary, is how it doesn’t feel like a commercial for his new album. It’s not just him talking about the songs he’s written and performing them, even though we do get to hear plenty of Ed’s songs performed throughout the series. This is a proper documentary, showing the real emotions and problems that he has to face. How he buried himself in his work to numb the pain, and how becoming a father changed his outlook on work. I’ve been a fan of Ed’s music since his first breakout album over eleven years ago and have always thought he has come across as a humble artist, who loves music and performing, but also someone, who has avoided the usual celebrity life.
I loved watching this documentary, I binged all four episodes in one sitting. It’s a powerful and heartfelt look at Ed’s life, who isn’t afraid to show himself. We see him hanging out and enjoying his life with his family and friends, but more importantly, we get to see the raw emotion that inspires his music. This documentary doesn’t feel like your typical tie-in to promote a new album and isn’t a sugary sweet fluff piece that feels like a commercial. It’s full of real emotion and represents real life.
“Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All” is easily my favourite musical special released on Disney+ so far. I honestly, don’t have a single thing I could say about this documentary that isn’t positive. I’m a fan of Ed’s music, and while listening back to his latest singles while writing this article, they mean even more, now I know the background to them. I’m an even bigger fan of Ed’s after watching this documentary, it’s fantastic, and it’s an easy recommendation to anyone who likes his music or wants to know more about him.
Rating – 5 Out Of 5
“Ed Sheeran: The Sum of It All” is out on Disney+ on Wednesday 3rd May 2023.