"Pretty mindblowing with a totally perfect soundtrack..."
Ah, I knew this would be a hard one to write. Basically, it’s a bloody good film and I can’t really fault anything, so I apologise if the next few paragraphs are sickeningly gushy.
First of all, don’t be put off if you’re not a Beatles fan. I wasn’t. I never really got what the hype was about. But I totally loved the film, and even listen to the odd song now that I know how they all found each other and how hot Lennon was as a teenager…oh no, hang on, that’s 19 year old Aaron Johnson. Still, now that I know the history, the music feels that bit more personal. Or something.
I suppose I could do what certain other reviewers seem to offer when they’re stuck, and that’s an overly digested synopsis, with a few long words thrown in to make it sound like its been analysed, critiqued and, like, totally deconstructed, maaaan. But I personally think that’s a waste of time…if you want the synopsis, we have a lovely link somewhere on this page!
So instead I’ll give you more gushing with the hope that you go and watch this awesome awesomeness! Why? Because it’s pretty mind blowing! Johnston says he spent hours watching old Lennon footage to try and copy his accent and mannerisms and it’s clearly paid off as this is the ONLY Beatles film that Yoko Ono has approved of! The only one! That’s got to be a big deal!!
Anne-Marie Duff’s Julia (Lennon’s mother) is mesmerising, sexy, broken, amazing. No wonder her son’s music was so raw. Messy upbringing, passion, secrecy, tragedy; it’s all there! Kristin Scott Thomas, I think the most established cast member, is the cruel to be kind Aunt Mimi, and even when it all got a bit too sentimental between the three of them, it didn’t make me cringe.
My two favourites, for their likability, attraction and significance were Thomas Sangster as Paul McCartney (the cutest boy in the world from Love, Actually!) and total newcomer Josh Bolt as Lennon’s best school friend Pete Shotton – playing the washboard in the original line-up of The Quarry Men! This is the first film to ever look at Lennon’s silliness and rebellious teenage angst, to which Shotton seems key, and at how Lennon and McCartney found each other and the creative bond that saw them write over 150 songs together. I think Taylor-Wood and the writers did a great job here.
There’s so many more reasons why this film is great; the drama, the suspense, the revelations, the AMAZING soundtrack (not just Beatles by a long shot) the beautiful colours and dancing and energy and the feeling that NOW, after seeing the film, you really do get why they were such a great band…and why Taylor Wood, who I believe is in her 40s, is marrying beautiful Johnson…I would!