There are few cinematic releases I have been quite so excited for, such is the extent of my enduring love for the Fab Four. I spent months counting down to this documentary’s release, bought my tickets a week out and dragged my two best friends along with me. Judging by their reactions, this isn’t just a movie for Beatlemaniacs (although they both don’t see the need to watch any other docos on the group again).
This Ron Howard directed masterpiece covers the height of Beatlemania from 1960 to 1966 when they performed their final stadium concert. The movie features home movie clips, alongside professionally filmed footage and plenty of live performances. Having watched countless hours of Beatles footage and interviews on YouTube, as well as the Anthology, I was prepared for the movie to cover everything I’d already seen. I’ve no doubt I still would have loved it. But I was blown away to learn some pretty major new information about the band, as well as seeing new photos and footage. No mean feat given my Beatles knowledge.
So what was this new information? The Beatles were very vocal on segregation in the US, refusing to play venues where it was enforced. This was a strong stance from four young men during a time when there were riots taking place in the south and people were being killed as they fought for basic human rights. As Ringo puts it in the film, the music of The Beatles was for everyone, not just one type of person. For some, it was the first time they shared the same space people white people, but when the music started any racial tensions were forgotten. That’s the way it should be.
Eight Days a Week reminded me why I loved The Beatles and why they were a phenomenon of the music world likely never to be repeated. I was once again amazed how four teens could come together (excuse the pun) out of the blue and perform so naturally, so beautifully as one. The film reminded me how extraordinary the Lennon-McCartney songwriting duo was and how much they boys all meant to each other. Of course, I’ve never fallen out of love with The Beatles, but I’d forgotten these personal details in the years since I discovered them in high school. It was so beautiful to relive the hours I spent obsessing over this band, learning as much as I possibly could, watching every clip I could find online and committing every song to memory.
Eight Days a Week was a trip down memory lane in more ways than one for me. A powerful, energetic and thrilling documentary jam-packed with the songs everyone loves. One of the best documentaries I’ve seen on the Fab Four and a must-watch for every fan.