For Beatles buffs “Lennon Naked” may be a refreshing look at one of the members of the band. However if you aren’t very well versed in the lives of the Beatles, it can be a little tough to watch and follow along.
Lennon Naked is a televised bio-pic that aired on BBC-4 then PBS focusing on the life of John Lennon between 1967 and 1971. Christopher Eccleston plays the titular character and does a decent job. There are moments when I was watching that I was aware it was Eccleston, and others where it could have been Lennon himself. The biggest asset for Eccleston selling the role, is that he always has long hair covering his distinguishable ears. Overall he does a decent job encapsulating Lennon.
The real standout in this tele-movie is Naoko Mori (Who and Torchwood fans will know her as Toshiko Sato or Tosh) as Yoko Ono. At first I didn’t like her portrayal of Yoko, but then the more she was on screen the more I liked her in the role.
As for the rest of the cast, I was very disappointed by Andrew Scott (he played Jim Moriarty in Steven Moffat’s “Sherlock”) as Paul McCartney. He had the look down of Paul, but his voice didn’t have enough of the Liverpool accent that Paul has. Perhaps it’s because Scott’s voice is much lower than McCartney’s was at that time period. Everyone else did decent jobs, for as small of roles as they were given. The men who played Ringo and George looked like the actual men from a distance, but on close ups they didn’t match the look very well. Overall, seeing the 4 Beatles together in a far shot (which wasn’t very often) it looked like it could have been actual footage. Another unfortunate thing was that the other 3 members of the Beatles had only a couple of scenes in the whole movie. I would have liked to see more of the interaction of the band.
As for the plot of “Lennon Naked” there isn’t much of a coherent story line. There were many points during “Lennon Naked” that I was confused as to what they were talking about. It is an interesting character study of a very enigmatic man, who isn’t portrayed in a very good light, he comes across as brash, rude and unpleasant. There is a lot of focus on John reflecting on his childhood, and his abandonment from his dad. While a large part of the film focuses on his and Yoko’s relationship, something seemed lacking. I appreciated that they explored the couple’s struggle conceiving, and the impact that had on John.
One thing to consider on if you want to watch “Lennon Naked” is that as the title suggests, there is some nudity in the movie. There is a scene where John and Yoko take the “Two Virgins” album cover, and several afterwards where John remains naked. This isn’t partial nudity. Seeing Eccleston’s “Sonic Screwdriver” is something I didn’t necessarily need to see, and now something I can not un-see.
For major Beatles fans this could be a must watch. For a casual fan I wouldn’t suggest it without doing more research into John’s life first. And if you have any preconceived ideas that John was overall a nice fun loving guy, this film will shatter those images of Lennon for you.
Lennon Naked – B-