Movie Review: The Beatles: Eight Days a Week

By Kieffer Wilson, Contributor

[Apple; 2016]

Rating: 9/10

It is 1965, New York City, Shea Stadium; men and women are violently screaming, fainting, and running frantically in hopes to break out from the crowd and be noticed. Policemen surround them inside and out. This isn’t a riot, nor a revolt: it is the peak of Beatlemania.

The Beatles were one of the biggest media acts to this day. It wasn’t just their talent, each of the members had genuine personalities and chemistry that helped them ascend to the height of popularity. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week shows this to the audience while also asking, “What was is like being on top of the world for a decade?”

Beatles fans know about all the big moments in the timeline. The beginning forming of The Quarrymen, one of the most famous late night performances on The Ed Sullivan show and John Lennon’s conflict with Christianity in America. For many, this film won’t reveal anything new about these events.

The beginnings of The Beatles: Eight Days a Week takes a trip through those familiar events. Of course, it is never boring watching the quartet joke around and run through their early years because watching them grow up is what makes The Beatles so much fun. As director Ron Howard takes us through the early years of The Fab Four’s career, more information about the members’ emotions and mentality shine through. Some may know the stories about how A Hard Day’s Night and Help! were filmed, but did they know that no one enjoyed filming Help! at all? This makes the documentary entertaining for all audiences, fans or not.

However, since there is so much of The Beatles to cover that this film only goes into the years where the band toured. This means that there may be some disconnects relating to why George Harrison and John Lennon aren’t in modern interviews while Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr are. It would not be a weird decision to make if Howard only wanted to focus on those years, but it is clear that the Beatles fan in him can’t hold back as they dip into Sgt. Pepper’s and their infamous concert on the rooftop.

Ron Howard does not just care about the interpersonal, there is just as much of a focus on how The Beatles affected everyone, including big celebrities such as Whoopi Goldberg and Elvis Costello. He also interviews Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr to speak about historical events that were happening at the time of their fame. How did Paul feel about the John F. Kennedy assassination while they were running away from fans?

All of this is edited in a stylish fashion. As each album’s period on top of the charts is animated on the screen and interviews of the group are slipped in the most appropriate moments, one can only smile as they are engulfed by a sweet barrage of charm. The Beatles: Eight Days a Week is a film that contains the tales that many already know, but it doesn’t deter a potent dose of joviality.

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