Get our free newsletter
It’s been nearly 12 years since Elliott Smith—the singer-songwriter known as much for his struggles with addiction as for his haunting, deeply personal music—killed himself, but his legacy continues to expand. Most recently, songwriters Jessica Lea Mayfield and Seth Avett (of Avett Brothers’ fame) released an album of Smith covers; before that, there was a spate of biographies, a posthumous compilation of his unreleased tracks, and countless Cobain-esque conspiracy theories about the nature of his death. Now there’s Heaven Adores You, a documentary that traces the musician’s sphere of influence across time and space. Though Smith was closely linked to Portland, Ore., director Nickolas Rossi also focuses on his time in New York and Los Angeles, rooting a musical journey in geographies familiar to any Smith fan. Long beloved by critics, Smith’s career had been on the commercial rise at the time of his death, following an Oscar nomination for his contribution to the Good Will Hunting soundtrack and his well-received 2000 release, Figure 8. Through interviews with Smith’s friends and collaborators, Rossi offers a new narrative of the creative and personal forces that brought Smith such public success and private despair. The film shows at 7 p.m. at the Howard Theatre, 620 T St. NW. $10–$15. (202) 803-2899. thehowardtheatre.com.