February 9, 2024: The Beatles: Get Back Is A Must-Watch For Fans
I know I'm probably late to the party, but have you seen The Beatles: Get Back yet?
I missed out on the original debut of this three-part documentary because we might be the only household in America that hasn't yet subscribed to Disney+. (It's a conscious decision on our part – my husband and I are both writers, and we didn't feel right subscribing to a company that has stiffed writers in the recent past.) I remembered hearing about the show and almost giving in, but I didn't. I wish I could say it was because I felt a strong need to stand by my principles, but that was only part of the equation. The other part of it was reticence to watch one of my favorite groups break up in real time. What would we see during Get Back? Would Peter Jackson detail painful arguments and shouting matches? Would the many rumors about an acrimonious split end up being true? And would I want to sit through it all?
It would take me until this year to find out. I received a copy of The Beatles: Get Back from my husband as a Christmas gift, and it didn't take us too long to sit down and watch it. I didn't know what to expect. And frankly, I was bracing for the worst.
Fortunately, the worst didn't come to pass. The Beatles: Get Back is a portrait of a group at the end of its run, but not because of spite or anger. In fact, most of the interactions between the Fab Four are joyful and full of love. It's an intimate portrait of four young men – all of them are still in their 20s – who care deeply for one another, yet have a desperate need to find themselves as individuals. It's a pleasure to see how each of them is evolving into the public solo figures that we'd come to know during the 70s and beyond. In particular, John Lennon's unabashed admiration for Martin Luther King, Jr. and George Harrison's brief discussions of the group's spiritual awakenings in India are poignant glimpses of their future personas as an activist and a seeker.
You'll need to set aside plenty of time for Get Back – the total run time for the entire series clocks in at close to eight hours, dwarfing two of my other recent rock doc recommendations: Moonage Daydream and The Sparks Brothers. But a somewhat daunting run time is a small price to pay for the experience. The intimate footage combined with Jackson's stunning restoration makes you feel as if you're in the studio with the group. You almost come to feel that you're part of their inner circle toward the end. And when the end does come, you may find yourself wondering what might have been.
-- Katie Duffy
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