“… despite it not featuring anything particularly groundbreaking, I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a huge smile on my face the whole time.”
Just to get this out of the way, I am a huge fan of The Beatles and have been for a very long time. I also really liked this movie, and will give it a good rating. I’m not sure why I felt the need to say all of that, I guess I just want to be as transparent as possible so you know where I’m coming from when you read the rest of my review (or you could not read it, I already told you what I thought about the movie). So without further ado: left’s get to it. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is a documentary about The Beatles. If you don’t know who The Beatles are then you are in a very select group and should probably win a prize or something. Anyways, Eight Days a Week documents The Beatles’ rise to fame, as well as their “touring years” and the Beatle Mania craze. The documentary features a lot of music by The Beatles, a lot of footage featuring The Beatles, and a lot of testimonials of famous people including Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr of The Beatles. Are you sick of me saying “The Beatles” yet? You probably will be by the end of this review.
I already said that I loved this movie, but I’ve learned over the years (or year) that I’m not great at putting into words why I love a film. I’ve found it much easier to fill the page with gripes than it is to fill it with compliments. Maybe it is easier for everyone to do so, or maybe I’m just a cynic. Either way, I want to talk about what I would consider a weak point of The Beatles: Eight Days a Week. Now, of course this is a scenario of someone holding a gun to my head and forcing to pick a flaw with the movie, because though these issues are prevalent they don’t lessen my enjoyment of the film. Anyway, the only issue I could find with The Beatles: Eight Days a Week was that the film, for the most part, lacked substance. The film starts off by telling you how The Beatles started as a band, and those of you who are familiar with the story know that it’s not all that special. We then get to see The Beatles go on tour, and rise to fame. This is fine, but it has very little impact because most people already know that The Beatles were a huge band. This same formula continues on for the better part of the movie. We get to see The Beatles perform, we see screaming fans, and every once in a while we get a celebrity testimonial of them saying “The Beatles are great”, or one of the still living Beatles saying “we are great”. Again I didn’t dislike the film, but it was very clear to me that it was essentially a two hour circle jerk of “The Beatles are great. Aren’t they great? Look at all of their screaming fans; they think they’re great. Here’s a celebrity, let them tell you how great The Beatles are”. This continued on for most of the film, until the end started actually digging into some of the more interesting points of The Beatles; like the “bigger than Jesus” incident. Up until that point point the film felt very basic, but it was that point and beyond that showed me what the film could have been had its focus been shifted ever so slightly.
Despite the issues that I found with The Beatles: Eight Days a Week, I genuinely loved the film. Even though none of the information given was new, seeing it all in one place was really great. None of the footage was particularly hard to find (to my knowledge), but having it compiled into one narrative really made me happy. That combined with the wonderful selection of Beatles music to go along with it really transported me back into the time when Beatle Mania was running rampant. Even the celebrity testimonials that I initially bashed (for lack of a better word) were really cool to see. In general society has a fascination with building celebrities up to be these almost god-like figures, so to see that they too were awe-struck by The Beatles was a really cool way to not only get the audience to relate to these celebrities but also to put into perspective how big The Beatles were. And it was also very nice to get Paul and Ringo’s perspective on these situations, as well as interview footage of both John and George also giving their opinion (although at an earlier time). The documentary didn’t go so far as to give you an all access pass to who The Beatles really were, but it did give you a little glimpse at it which was enough for me to fall in love with it. The ending portion of the documentary, like I said before, truly produced what I want out of a Documentary about The Beatles. I’m aware that during the ‘touring years’ everything is a little one-note (screaming fans, running from crowds, etc.) so I do think that this documentary did the best with why it had. What I hope is that director Ron Howard decides to now make a documentary about the ‘recording years’, because that is truly where the story becomes interesting. Of course this would be a bit more difficult seeing as we are down to only two Beatles, but Howard was able to make this documentary pretty even view-wise by using old footage of interviews like I mentioned before.
Overall The Beatles: Eight Days a Week was far from cutting-edge; it featured footage and information that almost any Beatles fan is already aware of. That being said, despite it not featuring anything particularly groundbreaking, I’ll be damned if I didn’t have a huge smile on my face the whole time. I wholeheartedly think that this film is a must-watch for any fan of The Beatles.
I give The Beatles: Eight Days a Week an A