An impoverished woman who has been forced to choose between a privileged life with her wealthy aunt and her journalist lover, befriends an American heiress. When she discovers the heiress is attracted to her own lover and is dying, she sees a chance to have both the privileged life she cannot give up and the lover she cannot live without.
Helena Bonham Carter,
A young boy is arrested by the U.S. Secret Service for writing a computer virus and is banned from using a computer until his 18th birthday. Years later, he and his new-found friends ... See full summary »
Jonny Lee Miller,
Adapted from Dostoevsky's novella, Henry Czerny plays the narrator, Underground Man. Filled with self-hatred, he keeps a video diary where he discusses his own shortcomings and what he ... See full summary »
A chronicle of John Lennon's first years, focused mainly in his adolescence and his relationship with his stern aunt Mimi, who raised him, and his absentee mother Julia, who re-entered his life at a crucial moment in his young life.
Kristin Scott Thomas,
A pre-fame Beatles head for the seedy clubs of Hamburg in search of success. The band meet up with a group of trendy German beatniks, one of whom (Astrid Kircherr) bass guitarist Stuart Sutcliffe falls in love with. Whilst best friend John Lennon can only watch, Sutcliffe has to choose between rock 'n roll and a new life in Germany... Written by
As seen in the movie, The Beatles are given "uppers" pills so they can keep performing when they're getting tired. Also, as seen in the shot after John accepts the pills for the first time, the Beatles are performing "Long Tall Sally" like crazed maniacs with eyes bulging and sweating profusely. The reason for this is that the uppers were actually prescription strength speed pills. According to all of the Beatles in various interviews (most prominently in the "Beatles Anthology" film and book), the band was forced to perform up to 8 hours a night, far and away more than a band can possibly play given the normalcy of fatigue that sets in from singing and playing. Whenever they grew tired, the bartenders or the waitresses would often give the Beatles (and other performers) the uppers to keep them going. Because of this, and their horrible living conditions in the Kaiserkeller Club's back room, the Beatles were often, sweaty, smelly, pale, and shockingly thin (speed pills back then doubled for diet pills) because they rarely bathed, hardly ever washed their clothes, or more importantly, ate healthy meals. However, after Stuart Sutcliffe began dating Astrid Kirchherr, she would feed the band and wash their clothes and allow them access to her bathroom for bathing. All of the Beatles have said that Astrid, more or less, kept them alive and healthy. See more »
A scene dated March 1961 has George being wished a happy 18th birthday. George's actual birthday was in February (as was even mentioned earlier in the film.) See more »
At the very end of the end titles, long after all the other music credits have run, one last music credit appears on the otherwise blank screen: "TIME TO GO HOME, Written by Maria Bird, Published by Minder Music." See more »
There's no doubt in my mind that 'Backbeat' is the best movie ever made about the Beatles. Dare I utter such blasphemy-- it may even be better than 'A Hard Day's Night!'
Director Iain Softley (his first film!) and his co-writers chose a period and a time that have always held a lot of romance for the group's fans, their trial-by-fire apprenticeship in the seedy nightclubs of Hamburg, Germany c. 1960. This was the crucible in which the band was transformed from noisy amateurs to professionals ready to take on- and change- the world. The focus is on two young friends from Liverpool, John Lennon (Ian Hart) and Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff). (As a critic once noted, dead men don't file lawsuits.) Stuart is a sensitive lad with a great talent for painting. John is a cynic with a very large chip on his shoulder. He may be sensitive and intellectual, too, but he'd rather die than admit that to anyone. His artistic passion is expressed in the rock & roll music he's driven to play. Stu likes the image more than the music, so he buys a bass guitar, turns his back on a promising art career and joins the band. The fact that he can barely play his instrument is not lost on bandmate Paul McCartney (Gary Bakewell.)
Playing a backbreaking schedule in Hamburg they meet up with two young Germans who become important in their lives- Klaus Voorman (Kai Wiesinger) and especially Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee), two "exi's", sort of latter-day beatniks or early hippies. Stu and Astrid fall in love and John is both irritated and fascinated by her. Soon Stu has to choose between his love for Astrid and painting and his deep emotional ties to John and the band.
The actors portraying the most well-known characters (Hart, Bakewell and Chris O'Neill as George Harrison) all bear striking resemblances to their look in the early '60's. But this movie not only gets the style right, but the substance as well. Paul McCartney has said it was full of inaccuracies (like John singing "Long Tall Sally," always Paul's number) but as an avid Beatles fan since 1964 my view is that it's a very honest portrayal. Ian Hart shines in his evocation of the complicated personality and tortured soul of John Lennon. He practically looks like a twin of John's son Julian. Sheryl Lee also stands out as the super-cool Astrid in a restrained but powerful performance. The musical performances are fine, too, done by a band including Mike Mills of R.E.M. No Beatle originals are used in the movie but that's OK because at the time they were mostly playing powerful cover versions of American rock and soul. In fact the "B word" is not seen or uttered except once, just before the film's conclusion.
This movie is a triumph for all involved and even though it's not "official" it will only add to the great legacy left by the Beatles.
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