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,
In this purely fictional story, Paul McCartney drops by The Dakota to visit John Lennon in 1976. Paul is still on top of the music world, reaching #1 with his new band, Wings. John, however, has retired from public life, choosing to raise his son, Sean. Rumors are rampant that The Beatles are going to reunite to play a concert. Paul, the consummate entertainer, is intrigued by the possibilities. But John, still fighting his inner demons, is content keeping Beatlemania a thing of the past. But even though the two men are still at odds over the band, they rediscover that they still have bonds from the past that will never go away. Written by
'John Lennon' and Paul McCartney actually did spend 24 April 1976 together as portrayed in the movie, but 'Yoko Ono' and Linda McCartney were also present. It was the last time they met. They got along so well that Paul returned the next day to see John. John would not let him in, saying, as he does in the movie, "You can't just be dropping by like it's the good old days." See more »
The movie begins with a message that the meeting it is dramatizing between John and Paul took place in April 1976 but when they got out into Central Park the leaves on the trees are yellow and the fact that there are yellow/brown leaves all over the ground indicate it would actually be late Sept or early Oct. See more »
Two of the Beatles, John Lennon and George Harrison, are deceased as of the date this review is being written, thereby officially nullifying any chances of the Beatles reuniting. Of course, in the mid 70's, with Paul, George, and Ringo busy making music and John taking a break from the public life, there was still a possibility for a Beatles reunion. Some people were willing to pay millions just to see all four of them on stage together again, even if it meant only playing a few songs. Lorne Michaels offered $3,000, but that's beside the point. The Beatles were still prolific even when Peter Frampton and Aerosmith were hitting the airwaves and disco was creeping into pop culture.
Naturally, it would only be a matter of time before someone would make a movie documenting a possible encounter between John and Paul, even if the dialogue was fictitious. There's a lot of pressure for such a movie to be good, and someone could easily screw it up. Fortunately, although this film may have benefited from being a play first, and it could be a play now if someone wanted to put it together, "Two Of Us" passes on most counts.
"Two Of Us", the title being taken from one of the Beatles' last songs, imagines what a conversation between Lennon and McCartney would be like if they were to meet at Lennon's New York City apartment on April 24, 1976. Actually, they did meet on this date in real life according to Lennon, but what their conversation really entailed remains a mystery that McCartney has yet to extrapolate on. When (or if) he does, he could put it in a book that would easily be a best seller. Meanwhile, writer Mark Stanfield makes his best guess with this screenplay.
One of this movie's main strengths is that it acknowledges first and foremost that it is fictional. Such a fact is good to know, and other movie makers may hide this fact at the end of the closing credits. The fact that this movie doesn't stoop to such a low is refreshing.
While the script is fictional, it is also believable thanks to the stellar performances of Jared Harris as Lennon and Aiden Quinn as McCartney. Quinn was an interesting casting choice because unlike Harris, he is not British, and, while not an A-lister, he is better known. There may have been the temptation to cast a McCartney lookalike over Quinn, but fortunately, Quinn does a remarkable job portraying the humbleness and outgoing personality we all know of the "cute" Beatle. Even something slight as the way Quinn widens his eyes is eerily similar to Sir Paul. A few times Quinn slips slightly out of his British accent, but not often.
Harris may have had it easier playing Lennon, who was less in the public eye. However, while other actors may have portrayed Lennon solely as an introvert, Harris gives him more dimensions, showing his serious side in the apartment, and his clown-like side as he pretends to be a German tourist in Central Park.
The film could have stayed within Lennon's apartment and still have been interesting. However, I liked it when Lennon and McCartney ventured (in disguise) into the city. The Central Park scene was funny, especially when they encountered police on horseback. The scenes when fans recognized them were a bit off, since I would think fans of the Beatles would be a lot less reserved. Plus, one woman recognized both Lennon and McCartney, and didn't even try to rush to a pay phone to call her friends. Hmmm . . .
Tying in Lorne Michaels' infamous $3,000 offer to reunite the Beatles on "Saturday Night Live" (which was then "NBC's Saturday Night") was the cherry on the top of this movie. In fact, the scene when Lennon and McCartney contemplate showing up to the SNL studios was surprisingly poignant, and the result added a real human touch to this original film.
Although this film was a TV movie (airing on VH1 in 2000), it was a higher quality than other TV movies. They could have easily released this film into theaters if they wanted to. Nevertheless, whatever way you watch it, the intriguing conversation and strong acting will draw you in and may make you sad to leave.
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