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As a musician, and devout worshipper of the Beatles, I was more than a
little bit puzzled as to how VH1 could and would pull off the fictional
"reunion" of perhaps, the most significant songwriters in the last
millenium. I was worried that it would drip of the saccharine "Baby
Boomerism" that made films such as Forrest Gump walk the indefinable line
between touching and nauseatingly univiewed. I must say to VH1's credit,
that unlike the horrific job they did with the Meat Loaf story "To Hell and
Back.," this was subtle, and endearing without sacrificing a reality that
grounded it in the here and now.
Firstly, Paul and John did in fact meet in New York to patch up their differences on that day in 1976, he has said that in interviews...what is different about the actual reunion is that Yoko was present in real life and was absent here for the film, which is already the first entry into fiction, and let's face it...a convenient one. Jared Harris, was absolutely breathtaking as John, right on down to the way he'd pace his speech patterns. Attention to actual accents was less important to me, than the pattern they were so known for. I will admit that the continual delving into the past he couldn't and wouldn't let go of, i.e., the death of the mother who had abandoned him as a child and the father who was as useless as balls on the Pope, got to be a bit soap opera-like, but no matter, the wit, the phrasing and the intensity that only Lennon had, was very closely brought back here.
Aidan Quinn as Mc.Cartney was not only astonishingly surprising, he was literally dead on. He was Paul, the charming, soft spoken, romantic thinker and apt businessman with the "pretty face" that even after the harshest of words could still reach down and stir John's battered soul in the way Yoko never could (nothing against Yoko of course...)
The movie was small, and I'm grateful for that because it gave one the ability to be the fly on the wall...and those moments as great in magnitude as they have the potential to be, are in fact quite small. John was the rebel, Paul the romantic realist, both wanted peace, both achieved it in the end. I absolutely choked up during the end of the film, cause you know as Paul walks out the door, that John's all too horrific ending is now inevitable.
As I shut the TV off, one thing was left with me...
"And in the end...the love you take...is equal to the love you make."
Let's cut to the chase: If you're a baby-boomer, you inevitably spent some time wondering at the fact that, in 1976, McCartney had the gumption to drop in on John's city hermit life and spend the day with him. You also certainly wondered how things went. I heard the exact same reports that the writer of this film heard, from John's and Paul's perspective, and I admit that I reconstructed the meeting in pretty much the same way this film does. But none of my imaginings could have bought tears to my eyes the way this incredible piece of work and acting does. I found it amazingly lifelike, perfectly plausible and 100 % saccharin-free. Now, can anyone explain why I didn't hear of this masterpiece before it was shown by the CBC last night? I mean it's already three years old, for goodness sake! And yes, if you're a Beatles fan, this is a must-see performance! Even the subtle paraphrasing of Beatles' melodies in the background is inspired.
Being the Beatlemaniac that I am, I approached Two Of Us with a
combination of fear and fascination. Having seen 'In His Life: The John
Lennon Story', I was quite concerned that Two Of Us will turn out no
better. The fact that Aidan Quinn and Jared Harris look absolutely
nothing like John Lennon and Paul McCartney even with some make-up
and proper hairdos didn't help one bit.
But I was more than a bit pleasantly surprised. It's probably thanks to the involvement of Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed Let It Be in 1970 and consequently probably knew John and Paul quite well, that the characters and the dialogue came across as convincing as they did. (The writing credit for Two Of Us is given to a man named Mark Stanfield, of whom I know absolutely nothing; I feel confident that director Lindsay-Hogg had more than a bit to do with the script.) Two Of Us is not a biography of the Beatles; it has very little plot, in fact, and takes place all in one day in New York City. What it does is imagine a meeting between John and Paul in 1976, while John lived in New York. That meeting is entirely fictitious, of course though it can't truly be disproved that such a meeting actually took place. But through that imagined conversation it gives us a glimpse into the personalities of these two great musicians their intelligence, their sense of humor, their different reaction to stardom, and most of all their relationship; what made them such a great team, and what broke them up.
Since it's a talk movie, nothing much except for dialogue between two characters for an hour and a half, it's likely to bore all but true fans of the Beatles; but it's a fantastic piece of writing and storytelling, and is both informative and touching. For those interested in these two musical giants, very quickly you'll get over the shock of how different the actors look from their counterparts and feel like John and Paul had come to life so intimate and convincing is the script, and so committed are the actors. Two Of Us gives you priceless insight into the lives of two geniuses, and a tale that is both sad and funny. Most certainly recommended.
Recently shown on cable tv the movie opens with a disclaimer distancing itself from any co-operation of real life persons; that in itself is an eye catcher. Yet the script and acting from the main characters is superb and I found myself engrossed throughout.Due in no small way to the crisp, thoughtful and interesting dialogue.The film is about a meeting on one day between two real life musical "legends" who formerly composed together then seperated.The film captures the essence of their lives and philosophies, in a story which proffers an explanation for their initial "split". What is so impressive is that the actors give such seemingly realistic portrayals of the characters they play,faults and all, that this viewer at least was left believing I was witnessing a true event in almost every detail. The great skill of this play is that with astute writing and fine acting a movie basically about "two of us" talking can make an excellent picture. Worthy of at least an 8 out of 10.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Very Slight Spoiler
This movie (despite being only on TV) is absolutely excellent. I didn`t really pay attention to the differences in looks or accents, so I can`t really comment on that. The acting in this was so good I had to pinch myself and say "Remember, it`s only a movie, this DIDN`T REALLY HAPPEN". As I sat and listened to Harris and Quinn talk, I knew that it was exactly what John and Paul would be talking about had they actually had this meeting. The offhanded comments and burns from John were right on with his character(especially in the restaurant!), as was his depression while Paul was very easy going and laid back. Both actors did and excellent job and I was thrilled to have seen this movie. It`s a wicked experience for any Beatles fan. And prepare for a few surprises!
This film is worth seeing alone for Jared Harris' outstanding portrayal of John Lennon. It doesn't matter that Harris doesn't exactly resemble Lennon; his mannerisms, expressions, posture, accent and attitude are pure Lennon. Best scene: Lennon in a local cafe verbally sparring with a stuttering fan as to whether Paul McCartney & Wings' "Silly Love Songs" is worthy of #1 status in America.
I admit I had some trepidation when I first saw the previews for this film. Was VH-1 treading on hollow ground here? I mean, Harris and Quinn don't really look or even sound like John or Paul. But I have to admit, this film really surprised me. It's far from the exploitation film I expected. Instead, it's a character study, a low-key, whimsical, and ultimately bittersweet look at friendship, and the ultimate lesson we all learn: it's hard, if not impossible, to capture what we once had, and what has passed us by.
I absolutely loved this film! I was hesitant to watch it at first because I thought it would be too painful. I remember how hard it was when John was shot. However, watching the "Two of Us" took me back to a happier time when he was still alive and there was hope and possibility. I think that the writer did an amazing job depicting what "might have been." Aidan Quinn was adorable as Paul and met the challenge head on. I was impressed with his accent and mannerisms. Jared Harris is also very talented and was quite believable as John. My favorite parts were the scene in the park and the rooftop scene - which was so poignant. The film left me with both sadness and satisfaction, both of which I feel are appropriate, given the circumstances.
I sat down to watch this film with much trepidation and little hope. I
didn't think it would be possible for this film to live up to its subject
matter. But it absolutely did, and then some. First, I must say that Jared
Harris did an extraordinary job as John Lennon. At times it seemed that
Harris was channeling Lennon. The resemblance was often uncanny, and he
clearly studied Lennon's mannerisms and vocal inflections. Aiden Quinn was
quite good as McCartney, also bearing a striking resemblance to Macca,
although he did occasionally trip over his Scouse accent.
This work of fiction was well-written and well-directed. It was pure fantasy, of course, but sometimes I felt like a voyeur peeking through a keyhole at this reunion. The rooftop scene was especially moving, as McCartney told Lennon what he had never heard as a child--that he was worthy and important, and it could never be his fault that he was abandoned by his parents. I also enjoyed the scene in the park where the pair of them danced with absolute abandon to the reggae band!
My one complaint would be this: I am not so sure that John was as caustic as he was portrayed in the film at this stage in his life. He had settled in to his domestic situation quite nicely, and he was actually known to be quite friendly when approached by fans. Only a few years later, he was very friendly when he was first approached by his assassin for an autograph on the day he was murdered.
Mostly this film served to stir up those feelings again about what might have been had John lived a bit longer. I am quite sure the Beatles would have come back together at some stage. And I am quite certain that Lennon and McCartney would still be friends today.
Well done, VH1. I will watch it again and again.
This movie has become internationally known (and translated and
uploaded to the Web (but rent or buy it so that you can view the whole
movie without any breaks)) because of its touching treatment of the
relationship between Paul and John. The writing is excellent. The movie
stands the test of time.
Mark Stanfield's writing breaks through the perceived stalemates between John and Paul. The viewer gets to see them go beyond the wisecracks (although there are plenty of those--and familiar ones, too) to express emotion we the viewer wish we had seen in them. The movie ventures into the possible, which is completely believable.
There are some wonderful settings: What is supposed to be Cafe Fortuna, Central Park, Yoko's white apartment, all believable. Nice comedy moments. Wonderful film.
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