‘Love to Love You’ Documentary Shows Why We Loved To Love Donna Summer

HBO released a new documentary about the life and career of the late Donna Summer that peels back the layers of the disco queen and shares who she was as a woman, mother, and musician.

Love to Love You, Donna Summer premiered on HBO Max last month, on May 20. Co-directed by Summer’s daughter Brooklyn Sudano and documentarian Roger Ross Williams, the film gives flowers to the electronic dance pioneer who was somewhat underrated on the music scene despite penning cult classic hits like “Bad Girls,” “Last Dance,” and “Hot Stuff.”

Speaking with Harper’s Bazaar, Sudano shared her goal for the film and how personal a project it was. “With my involvement, we really did lean in on the personal side,” Sudano said.

“This is a perspective that will really show you who she fully was as a woman and an artist and a mother. You know, the whole spectrum.”

Disco was a musical phenomenon that swept the 1970s before suffering a drastic fall from grace by the early ’80s. When disco died, so did many of the music careers associated with the art form. The stigma around disco is thought to have impacted Summer’s career and legacy in music.

Summer passed away in May 2012 at age 63 from lung cancer, just months after Whitney Houston’s equally untimely death made global headlines. That close timeline was another example of Summer not having her accomplishments given the recognition they deserve.

The new documentary highlights how strong the singer’s impact was on music, fashion, and popular culture. “I think they understand the influence,” Sudano said. “I’m not sure that maybe [the] culture as a whole has fully acknowledged it, but I’m hoping that’s part of what this film is able to do.”

“I think for a lot of people, they’re like, ‘Oh, I know this song, or I know that song,’ but then when they see the film and they see all of these things piece together, they’ll then understand the full scope and the full impact.”