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Customer Review

#1 HALL OF FAMEon 15 January 2003
The Hours & The Times is the only decent fictional Beatles film to be made thus far- Ian Hart is wonderful as Lennon, a role he would repeat in the very-average Backbeat (1994). Compare this film, which errs towards art cinema and fits somewhere between Prick Up Your Ears & the Albert Goldman book (I know that's reviled by Lennon followers, but it can't all be fiction, can it?). The Sixty-Minute feature is generally in the speculative biopic mode, and looks at at holiday in Spain that Lennon spent with manager Brian Epstein. It looks at notions of sexuality and class, which in this period led towards the experimentation and more controversial Lennon (such as the LSD experiments, the sub-Stockhausen/Cage experiments in sound, the heroin addiction, Bag-ism, Cold Turkey, giving the OBE back, protesting at the Vietnam War etc). Essentially a farce revolving around Epstein's (David Angus) attempt to bed Lennon or a hotel bellboy, it takes in a period when the working-class (well, Lennon was kind of working class- despite going to grammar school & living in relative comfort with his aunt & going to art college) rubbed shoulders with the middle-class (Epstein was a Jewish Businessman, with society aspirations- not someone who you would assume is very rock&roll).
The Hours & The Times may be only an hour long, but I think it's the best Beatles-related film that isn't a docu so far & it's as fictional as 1995's revisionist self-history Anthology. Proof that low budget cinema can also be great, and that it is possible to make a decent Beatles film (rather than risible TV movies like The Linda McCartney Story, the Lennon one with Barry from Brookside, the patchy Backbeat etc). Not unrelated to what Oliver Stone did with The Doors, in a way; warning!- pious Beatles/Lennon fans who have him down as the messiah might be offended by this film. He was just a bloke though...
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