The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020) Poster

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10/10
The last white rhino..
AlsExGal13 December 2020
... is what I think of when Barry Gibb is interviewed for this documentary in present day. Obviously missing his brothers badly, probably never anticipating being the last one standing since he is the oldest, but don't think this rockumentary is a downer because it is not.

Before this I had only cursory knowledge of the Bee Gees. I remembered their ballads from the 60s and early 70s when I was a kid and their disco music from when I was in college and the fact that they all seemed to suddenly disappear, and of course I remembered the tragedy of Andy Gibb, but the story is much more complex than that. And they never actually "disappeared" from music at all.

This documentary follows their rise to fame in the 60s, even before the Beatles hit the scene ("That's what WE are trying to be!" says one of the brothers) through a short breakup to a return to recording when they think that maybe their time is past in the early 70s, then a relocation to Miami in 1975 and the origins of the "Miami sound" and everything that came after.

I particularly loved that much of the documentary was about the Bee Gees' creative process, both with writing and recording. It really helps with the central thesis that the Bee Gees saw themselves first as song writers and as performers second. At the end, Barry Gibb says that he thinks he and his brothers accomplished what they set out to do, and that he hopes that their music lives on.

If you are looking for some personal gossipy tell all piece, this is not that. If you want to know about the music of the Bee Gees and as much about their lives as is necessary to discuss that, then I think you will enjoy this documentary. And, yes, you do get quite a few scenes of their live performances from throughout their careers that you get a real feeling for the excitement of their fan base. Highly recommended.
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10/10
If you think Dico Sucks - WATCH THIS NOW!
eric-shoe24 December 2020
I admit, I'm a rocker through and through. However, after watching this incredible documentary I have a much greater respect for The Bee Gees music and their incredible story. Credit is highly deserved to the filmmakers and their masterful editing of the best material available. This story had to be told because of pigheaded people like me.
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10/10
A master-class in music docs.
SnobReviews15 December 2020
Beautiful, poignant and electric; "The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" is the music doc of the year and one that resonates so deeply beyond the music.

In this documentary, explore the history of the Bee Gees, featuring revealing interviews with oldest brother Barry Gibb, and archival interviews with the late twin brothers Robin and Maurice.

Profoundly effective in its storytelling through the music, this doc doesn't cheapen the hardships and circumstances that come with being a family band. Filmmaker Frank Marshall beautifully curates this story through interviews and never before seen footage. The scenes that take place in the studio are some of the most unforgettable moments in music history. This doc will make your parents relive memories with the popular band but it'll also take younger viewers on a trip they won't soon forget. An honest and heart-wrenching look at one of the greatest bands and songwriters in history.

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10/10
The brilliance of the bee gees
jewelsblu1620 December 2020
I've always loved the bee gees, I'm an age where I remember all that disco sucks nonsense, they were so much more than the Saturday night fever album, although I did love that album. The way the brother's gibb sang together, no one can top them, they harmonize so beautifully, certain songs can send chills up your spine. I've watched this twice now, I'm sure I'll watch it many more.
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10/10
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart (2020)
lkgleeson12 October 2020
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart is informative, entertaining, and heart wrenching as Director/Producer Frank Marshall reveals the band's soul and the power dynamic that propelled the Bee Gees to superstardom. Highly recommended.
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10/10
Must Watch!
nicgas21 December 2020
My husband watched this without me and had to wake me up to tell me how amazingly interesting it was. He should have never done it. I've watched this at least 5 times in the past week alone and have now become re-obsessed with all things Bee Gees! I found the story so compelling due to the fact that The Bee Gees were just a normal part of everyday life, especially during Disco. I remember vividly the Disco Demolition at Comiskey Park and finding it so very humorous at the ripe age of 11. I am now apologizing directly to Barry Gibb for my immaturity. Their stunning talent combined with years and years of hard work is nothing to dismiss as is evident in this documentary. If you were like me in the late '70's and "forgot" The Bee Gees, I highly suggest you watch this. I promise Barry will forgive you for your childish past transgressions. The Brothers Gibb are to be revered!
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7/10
Insightful documentary on the long and complicated history of the Bee Gees
paul-allaer13 December 2020
"The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart" (2020 release; 111 min.) is a documentary about the famed pop trio. As the documentary opens, we hear the disco-charging "Stayin' Alive" over the opening titles and then go straight into a live concert from 1979 in Oakland. We flash forward to "Miami 2019" as Barry Gibb, the only surviving member of the Gibb brothers, rues "My immediate family is gone". From there we go back in time to when the Gibb brothers were just young lads growing up on the Isle of Man before the family relocates to Australia. It is there that the lads find their first taste of success... At this point we are 10 min. into the documentary.

Couple of comments: this is the latest project from Frank Marshall, best known for his production work (including for Steven Spielberg), but here he directs what is clearly a labor of love about the long and complicated history of the Gibb brothers. If you ask anyone today what the Bee Gees stand for, almost certainly the answer will be "disco" or "Saturday Night Fever". And of course they were that, very much so. But as this delicious documentary reminds us, they were more than that, in fact so much more than that. It feels like the Bee Gees had, like cats, nine lives, or at least four or five (pre-SNF, the 1975-1981 disco era, the immediate post-disco era, and the latter days). Along the way we get treated to a bunch of archive footage that certainly I had never seen before, and of course also the 'talking heads', including Justin Timberlake, Eric Clapton and most interestingly Nick Jonas and Noel Gallagher, both of whom also performed as brothers in a band. There are some heavy duty moments in this documentary when we are reminded of the deaths of younger brother Andy Gibb (for whom the Bee Gees wrote a bunch of songs), and then twins Maurice (in 2003) and Robin (2012). But in the end the music prevails, and on that count, it still feels to me that the Bee Gees are underappreciated, even though they are rightly so in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. I love their disco stuff, but I equally love their late 60s/early 70s pre-disco output (think: "Massachusetts", "World", "I Started a Joke", "Words", etc.). Such great songs.

"The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart" premiered this weekend on HBO and is now available on HBO on Demand and other streaming services. If you have any interest in the history of rock music, or are simply a fan of the Bee Gees, I'd readily suggest you check this out, and draw your own conclusion.
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10/10
Earworms For Days
leemeade-6234614 December 2020
What a wonderful documentary. The Gibb Brothers have provided some of the soundtrack of my life. This film centers their place in modern music history. They belong at the pinnacle. If you don't know their music, this provides an invaluable roadmap. It's all here. You won't be disappointed. What a deep pleasure.
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10/10
Timeless!!!
kaegic114 December 2020
I remember first hearing the Bee Gees for the first time in 1978, 8 years old and couldn't speak a lick of English, had just arrived to the United States from Switzerland and this song came on the radio in my fathers car. The rhythm of this song just blew my mind and found myself humming to the song with visions exploding in my mind. The song was Night fever and I was hooked. Only 10 months later I figured out that the Band was called "The Bee Gees" and by then I understood English very well and was in love with music. Growing up my first eight years in Switzerland I only heard Classical which was my mother's forte, and Jazz which my Dad absolutely loved. I found the same melody's and Rhythm that my parents listened to in the Bee Gees and many other Artists on my little white Radio (with a single earpiece) and I was in love. Music was to me a necessary part of my soul and the cup was never full. The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend A Broken Heart Documentary was like going back in time and reliving a piece of my live over again, and oh' they joy and tears it brought was absolutely sublime. The Bee gees have been in "My Life's Playlist" since I was that young child in my daddy's car. Of course I couldn't always say "I liked the Bee gee's", the 80's were tough on the Bee Gees and just like "Judas" I even found myself saying to my Hair Metal friends that the "Bee Gee's suck" in order to avoid ridicule I know I surely would have received. This documentary was portrayed in chronological order from when the Bee Gees first started as Children in 1958 to the passing Of Andy, Maurice, and Robin and everything in between, all the dirty laundry, hope, dreams and inspirations that led this band for the last 50 years. A true joy to watch even if your not a fan, by the end it will touch everyone who watched it. God bless!
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9/10
Very good documentary, but what did it miss?
loujg-241-8196913 December 2020
There have been many documentaries over the years on The Bee Gees which all contain their own special moments. This latest entry will be known amongst fans for containing the most unseen footage of the band at home and at work (studio footage from 1976 is rather amusing). The majority of the film concentrates on their classic era of 1967 through 1979 and it does a very good job at discussing things that other docs didn't. But there are some disappointments as well. In order to tell the story of a band that existed for nearly 40 years, some things will be missed, such as the Cucumber Castle TV movie, the mention of several albums including an entire unreleased album from 1973 (Barry does speak of two dismal albums from that time but that's it), unseen footage from their 1976 tour, the Sgt Pepper movie (which is not really missed), the all-star UNICEF concert they organized (big omission) and their post 1980 career as The Bee Gees missing hits like You Win Again, One and Alone. My biggest complaint is how their most successful album and tour were juxtaposed with the events from Chicago led by a radio DJ. Too much credence was given to an embarrassing event that should be long forgotten. No mention of six straight number one singles that tied The Beatles record which led to the hottest concert tour since The Fab Four. It was overshadowed by negativity. Yes it happened, but it shouldn't dominate the story. All in all, it's a must see for fans but it's not the definitive biography, which has yet to be made.
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9/10
Whether you're a fan or not, brilliant must watch doc
parkville21 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
One of the most difficult problems documentary filmmakers face is dealing with too much archival material and too many interviews, especially when the subject/s spent as much time in the public eye as The Bee Gees. The recent Frank Zappa doc comes to mind, the director seemed to want to convey the psychedelic '60's by too many montages of poor quality video yet at what still felt like a plodding pace to me.

although I was not a big fan of either Zappa or The Bee Gees, I was completely riveted from the opening 5 minutes of 'How Can You Mend a Broken Heart' with the cuts between a live performance and Saturday Night Fever. The film NEVER felt bloated by covering too many incidents or songs.

Frank Marshall did a masterful job of culling a great story from 50 years of material. Some others here have mentioned other events and songs that they believe should have been front and center (and I confess, I was disappointed that I didn't hear MY favorite Bee Gees song, Words, until the final credits). I would argue that the director covered an enormous amount of inside info (loved learning about the unexpected genesis of songs like 'Stayin' Alive') and made what could have been momentum stopping interviews with engineers and other band members fascinating.

Finally - with the tragedy of the untimely deaths of 3 of the brothers and the clear melancholy of Barry, the oldest and the only surviving member, the film could have slipped into a maudlin reverie very easily. I appreciated the filmmakers handling of all this by noting their passing at the beginning and including specifics at the very end of the film via slates. Extremely moving without feeling manipulative.

As someone else has already said, truly a master class in how to make a great documentary and a film I will absolutely watch again.
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10/10
How Can I Stop Watching This
hughjman16 December 2020
Well, I went straight from this documentary to iTunes to buy some Bee Gees tunes, so that should tell you something. I'd forgotten how truly excellent some of their songs are and I don't think I ever paid enough attention to the exquisite "Fanny, Be Tender With My Love" before. (Of course, that was one of the songs I bought on iTunes.) A wonderful mix of music and story and family. I could have watched another hour, I was so riveted and moved. I settled for watching it a bunch of times (with more viewings to come, I'm sure).
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7/10
Gets lost in 2nd half
KarlHungus2613 December 2020
First half was 10/10. Didn't like how they skipped through so much in 2nd half including the death of the 3 brothers and Barry's life as the last surviving Bee Gee. Needed more time to adequately cover 1980-present.
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10/10
Tranquil documentary
UniqueParticle13 December 2020
Absolutely wonderful informative experience about The Bee Gees most of which I never knew about! One of the most enjoyable documentaries I've ever indulged in, it's peaceful, interesting, and heartwarming. Makes me appreciate everyone involved even more! I'm a 28 year old male that craves the music along with the other aspects, I don't even like a lot of music nowadays it's very different.
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10/10
I never knew...
arjan-163-2994903 January 2021
Warning: Spoilers
I never realized the impact the BeeGees had in all those years. From Beatles-like songs (and mania), to inventing the melodic disco sound (including tape looping, the first drum sample?), to writing a string of hits for other artists. Lovely documentary! The closing quote by the only surviving BeeGee Barry Gibb brought tears to my eyes. Asked about his brothers (that have all passed away) he says: "I'd rather have them all back here and no hits at all". A must watch for any music fan or musician!
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9/10
Music is Not Always The Beatles
pnep011020 December 2020
The Bee Gees were breaking ground long before The Beatles exploded. Their genres evolved from soul, to folk, pop rock, to disco to classic adult contemporary. Their musical influence had an extraordinary effect in four great decades. They are icons. How they craftily maneuvered in the world of music is beyond genius. They are songwriters who had the ear for the perfect rhythm. They were gifted singers as well. They made the biggest songs in an imperfect world.
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10/10
Great Group
vekiod18 December 2020
Spectacular from beginning to end! Takes you from their beginning and how they become more than just a group. These guys were writing hit songs for other singers! One of the greatest bands ever.
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10/10
This Was Simply Awesome!
frode77717 December 2020
I gathered as many friends as allowed under the Corona-rules tonight and we watched it together. Two of us are quite found of Bee Gees, while the rest knew some of their stuff. It turned out that we all thought it was a great documentary! The documentary highlights important things in Bee Gees history and it shows a whole lot of never before seen material. They have very important musicians talking about the band and their success and they include great interviews with the brothers. Making a documentary which covered their whole career would be too long, so they had to make priorities. I understand why it was made this way, but even a major hit like "You Win Again" is not mentioned in this documentary. There are also at least 50 songs I really miss in this documentary, but that is because their catalogue is so extremely deep! My friends asked med what I thought in the end and I was all in tears. This was a great night for me, and all of my friends agreed to that as well!
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9/10
"Tragedy"
jsklein81415 December 2020
They truly had a great life, as this movie showed us bits and pieces, of the good and bad of it. Extremely enjoyable and brought back many memories of their music, which made it fun to sing along with. They were amazing, talented guys.
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8/10
I started a joke
ferguson-611 December 2020
Greetings again from the darkness. "Whether you're a brother or whether you're a mother, you're stayin' alive" ... that instantly recognizable lyric is a bit ironic when it comes to the fascinating story of the Brothers Gibb - a story of love, ego, success, and tragedy. Director Frank Marshall delivers a heartfelt and quite detailed chronicle of the familial music group that experienced the highest highs and lowest lows. The foot-tapping "Stayin' Alive" plays over the opening, but we soon cut to a 1979 concert in Oakland where the Bee Gees are performing the film's title track. If somehow you are unfamiliar with their music, this beautiful performance will clue you in quickly.

Flash forward to 2019, and we hear from 73 year old Barry Gibb as he dolefully states, "my immediate family is gone". Going back to their childhood, we see 5 year old twins Robin and Maurice joining with older (by 3 years) brother Barry to perform live shows. Contrary to popular belief, the boys were born on the Isle of Man, and only later did the family relocate to Australia. Robin's tear-jerking voice perfectly blended with Barry's power (and later falsetto), while Maurice was a natural harmonizer. Barry promised his younger siblings they were "going to be famous". It's a prediction that certainly came true.

Along the way, we hear recollections from musical luminaries such as Eric Clapton, Chris Martin, Nick Jonas, Justin Timberlake, and Noel Gallagher. Jonas and Gallagher both speak to performing with one's brothers, and it's Gallagher who nails it with, "Brothers singing is an instrument nobody can buy." In comparison, Timberlake's few comments seem to be included because of who he is rather than what he has to say. It's noted that early work from the Bee Gees sounded very much like the Beatles, and it was music executive Robert Stigwood who truly recognized their talent and the possibilities of their stunning harmonies. Stigwood would guide them through their career peaks and valleys.

Much is made of how the brothers functioned as "one" while writing and singing, but as often happens, success brought out the egos, and in 1969 Robin quit the group due to his creative clashes with Barry ... both wanted to sing lead. It's interesting to note that Maurice married singer/actress Lulu, who most will remember as the singer on the smash hit "To Sir with Love" (she also appeared in the movie). Not surprisingly, the brothers' first song after reconciling was "How Can You Mend a Broken Heart?", which provided some symmetry to their own situation.

The film closely tracks their career, including resorting to performing in small clubs, and their shift in musical styles with 1975's "Jive Talkin'", followed by "Nights on Broadway". The Bee Gees went through a few producers in their career, which likely explains their numerous shifts in style. Arif Mardin was followed by "hippie" Albhy Galuten, who helped create the 'Miami sound' and then turn them (like it or not) into disco icons when Robert Stigwood included them in his film and music vision of a little magazine article entitled "Tribal Rights of the new Saturday Night". The movie, of course, was SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, and the soundtrack exploded on the scene. Of particular interest here is Galuten's explanation of how they built/wrote the song "Stayin' Alive". It was also around this time when the youngest Gibb brother, Andy, zoomed up the charts with three consecutive number one singles.

Of course all good things must come to end ... even if by the end they aren't so great ("Disco Duck"). Chicago DJ Steve Dahl organized "Disco Demolition Night" at Comiskey Park and the anti-disco movement was well underway. This is discussed from a historical and societal perspective with some particularly fascinating insight into what actually happened that night. Casualties of the movement and the collapse of disco, the brothers once again reinvented themselves - this time as songwriters for such performers as Barbra Streisand, Dionne Warwick, Diana Ross, Celine Dion, Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton.

It may seem that the Brothers Gibb had more lives than a cat, but alas, tragedy struck numerous times. First to go was Andy at age 30, followed by Maurice in 2003, and Robin (cancer) in 2012. It's a wonderful documentary for fans of the Bee Gees, as well as those just wanting to know more. I am especially grateful to director Marshall for including my favorite, "Massachusetts". Mr. Marshall has had quite a career himself. He had a minor acting role in the classic THE LAST PICTURE SHOW (1971), has been a Producer on numerous Spielberg movies including RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK (1981), directed ARACHNOPHOBIA (1990), and has been married to Hollywood power producer Kathleen Kennedy since 1987. Elected to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1997, the Bee Gees music can be described as: "Ah, ha, ha, ha, stayin' alive ..." HBO Documentary premieres December 12, 2020
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8/10
Enjoyable but sad.
harrmmbe6 December 2020
Warning: Spoilers
Enjoyable documentary with input from Barry Gibb - the last surviving Bee Gee. Other family and friends also interviewed with archival footage from Maurice & Robyn. I was a little disappointed that the Gibbs life in Australia was skimmed over as they got some of their breaks in Australia often appearing on TV here when they were young. Their older sister is never mentioned either. Lots of wonderful footage and stories from those appearing. The Bee Gees had amazing success and deserved it with their Catologue of music. Highly recommended.
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9/10
Bee Gees Mend a Broken Heart
cskleind14 December 2020
The movie remarkably captures the Bee Gees contribution to the disco era. The Saturday Night Fever soundtrack was the epitome of the era. The complexity of harmonies, song writing, and music rocked dance floors around the globe. In the movie, Nicky Siano explains that a new era of dance music, which started in underground clubs, was picked up by the music industry which wanted to name it, package it, sell it. That was the explosion of the disco sound. Not mentioned is the cause of the music explosion. The emergence of the disco sound, across the nation was a result of ending the Vietnam War. In 1973, the combat troops returned home and in 1975, the last Americans withdrew. For ten years the Nation had been in a pressure cooker of anxiety and grief. When the boys came home, America exploded with exuberance, relief, and joy. The disco sound manifested these feeling and provided a cultural release that carried through the 70's. And the Bee Gees helped mend the broken hearts. The disco era ended after it had served its purpose.
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10/10
That was true love
marian_a-9197919 January 2021
Absolutely beautiful documentary, made me cry a couple of times. You would never imagine what's behind the lyrics of each song and how did they got to write so many lovely ones, like in the "how deep is your love?" scene, I was totally touched as they were remembering writing the song.

Hang in there Barry! You'll meet your beloved brothers again. Thank you Bee Gees!
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10/10
The backstory and pulsing beats of the Bee Gees - totally enjoyable documentary
Sasha_Lauren9 January 2021
This exceptional documentary examines the magnificent musical legacy of the the Bee Gees, made up of mega-talented brothers Gibb: Barry, and twins Maurice and Robin. Also touched on is younger brother Andy's personal and professional story. Barry, the eldest and only surviving brother, anchors this story which highlights a resplendent journey from the bothers' childhood dream in Australia to early "Beatleseque" pop music and on through multiple reinventions of their sound, including the driving beat and falsetto harmonies that flooded the airwaves and took the culture by storm in 1975.

Singing in perfect symphony, Maurice explains, "Robin and Barry harmonized so well that it sounded like one voice,"

The brothers love for each other, clashing egos, substance abuse, and multiple meteoric successes are the main storylines that weave together their tale. Mykaell Riley says the influence of black music in which the falsetto is a tradition was translated by the Bee Gees into "this interesting interpretation of soul." which was a significant influence to the group.

America was always the ultimate dream. Eric Clapton suggested the Bee Gees record in this unbelievable studio in Miami that he used when he recorded 461 Ocean Boulevard. Eric thought the Bee Gees were really an R & B band that hadn't worked that out yet. Staying in the house on Ocean Avenue where Eric had lived, the brothers flourished in Miami. One of my favorite anecdotes from that time is about the clickety click sound that Barry heard as he was driving across a bridge, which he began singing to; the beat from the bridge became the inspiration for Jive Talking.

This song launched the Bee Gees new sound and eventually became identified with Disco, the music that had started in the gay and black underground clubs. The craze enjoyed a period of soaring success until low level rip offs and a Disco destroying duck put an end to that cresting wave.

Watching this movie, I felt nostalgic and in awe of this gifted family's superb talent. The music is the star from start to finish. This extraordinary film filled with their fascinating musical odyssey is perfect for Bee Gees fans.
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10/10
Great documentary about a great band.
warren432613 December 2020
This documentary is worth every moment it took to make, create, and view! Talk about talent! I didn't realize how much the Bee Gees were a soundtrack of my younger life. Still love them and their incredible talents.
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