HE HAD A DREAM...
Lawyeraau | Balmoral Castle | 06/16/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"This is a capably directed, better than average television movie about the beginnings of The Beatles, as seen through the eyes of John Lennon. The focus of the film is always on John and some of the people, places, and events that shaped his early life and made him the man he was to become. As its focus is on John Lennon, the other members of The Beatles take a back seat to John in the film. The film, shot in the gritty, port city of Liverpool where John and the other Beatles grew up, shows how John (Phillip McQuillan) was reared by his devoted Aunt Mimi (Blair Brown), his mother Julia's older sister. His mother, Julia (Christine Cavanaugh), also lived in Liverpool and he would visit with her, but his father was an absentee one and would remain nothing but a distant memory. John grew up in his Aunt Mimi's household, and it was she who governed much of his early life. It was his mother, however, who was instrumental in John getting his first guitar.The film shows the viewer some of the childhood places and people that would someday be memorialized in the music of The Beatles: Strawberry Fields, Penny Lane, Eleanor Rigby, and Julia. John's courtship of Cynthia (Gillian Kearney), the girl who would become his first wife, is also grist for the mill, as are his reasons for marrying her. The early popularity of The Beatles in Germany is touched upon, as is the tragic end of one of its original members and John's best friend, Stuart Sutcliffe (Lee Williams). Stuart was an artist who, while performing with the band in Germany, fell in love with a German girl named Astrid (Palina Jonsdottir) and left the band in order to marry her and remain in Germany.The film shows how John and Paul McCartney (Daniel McGowan) met, as well as how George Harrison (Mark Rice-Oxley) came to join the group. The film deals with the issue of the replacement of their original drummer, Pete Best (Scott Williams), with Ringo Starr (Christian Ealey), when on the brink of success. It also shows how their local popularity brought them to the attention of record store owner, Brian Epstein (James Glover), and what he did to help make them them the most popular rock band of all time. One sees their arrival in America and their auspicious and memorable debut on the Ed Sullivan show.Phillip McQuillan, whose physical resemblance to John Lennon is slight, at best, gamely tackles the lead role of John Lennon with much bravado, playing him as a bit of a bad boy with a good heart and a dream of rock and roll fame. He also manages to get John's intonations and inflection down pretty pat. Blair Brown does a wonderful job with the role of Aunt Mimi, the woman who managed to put some structure and order to John's early life. Christine Kavanaugh whimsically plays the role of John's mother, the woman from whom John appeared to have inherited his creative juices. Gillian Kearney gives an excellent portrayal of John's first wife, Cynthia.Daniel McGowan, who actually resembles Paul McCartney in a peculiar sort of way, infuses the role of Paul with an intelligence that is palpable. Mark Rice-Oxley, however, is wooden and does nothing to bring the role of George Harrison to life. As he does not even resemble him, his portrayal of George is jarringly out of place. Christian Ealey, who somewhat resembles Ringo, fares better and does a more than passable job in the role of Ringo Starr, the Johnny come lately who was in the right place at the right time. Last but not least, James Glover give an excellent portrayal of Brian Epstein, the man who shrewdly and firmly set them on the road to rock and roll stardom. All in all, this is a better than average made for television film. If you are not a fan of The Beatles, especially John Lennon, however, you would do well to deduct one star from my review."
Joan Maydet | NJ | 01/06/2002
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I watched this movie in November of 2000 on tv. This is a great movie about John Lennon and how the Beatles got started. It's a memorable movie that you won't forget. If you love the Beatles, or want to know more about John Lennon and the Beatles, this is a great movie to watch."