I recently reviewed the film Nowhere Boy, the prequel to Backbeat. In my review I stated:
Now it’s been a long time since I’ve seen Backbeat, but if I recall, the band went on to be rather big, maybe it’s time for a sequel studying that part of their career.
This film did just that. The film starts in 1964, when John Lennon meets his father for the first time in 17 years. While Nowhere Boy examined Lennon’s relationship with his mother, Lennon Naked is about his relationship with his father.
The film follows some key events in the life of Lennon’s up until 1971 when Lennon and his wife Yoko Ono leave the UK for the United States.
Christopher Eccelston (Doctor Who, Gone in 60 Seconds, Heroes) plays the famous Lennon, and it’s slightly awkward having a man who’s face is so well known to me, playing a man who’s face is so well known to me. They intercut archival footage of Lennon, The Beatles, and Yoko Ono through the film, and surprisingly use Beatles and Lennon recordings as the soundtrack.
While Lennon’s relationship with Alfred Lennon, his father, is the main crux of the story, there’s a lot of stuff which doesn’t really relate to the relationship of the Lennons. The main problem with the film is that John Lennon is an adult by the time the film starts, and while he carries a lot of resentment and hatred towards his father, who left him as a child, he’s still an adult. An adult dealing with the betrayal of his parents doesn’t come near the interest of a child. That’s where Nowhere Boy succeeded, and Lennon Naked failed. However, there is a great way to succeed with this same story, and unfortunately, the film makers did the same thing John Lennon did… ignored Julian Lennon. While John was dealing with the hurt caused by his father, he was doing the same thing to his son Julian.
I think the filmmaker was trying to show the parallels, but they failed at it.
If you’re a Beatles/Lennon fan, watch it. Otherwise, meh.
I watched the second half film on PBS the other night. I think that the child/parent can be just as interesting as adult/parent. I think the film spent too much time chronicling lennon and the beatles. Anyone who’s interested in this film knows the beatles’ story. They should have had more focus.