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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Backbeat

Starring: Stephen Dorff, Sheryl Lee
Director: Iain Softley
Rated: R
RunTime: 100 Minutes
Release Date: April 1994
Genres: Drama, Music, Romance

*Also starring: Ian Hart, Gary Bakewell, Chris O'Neill, Scot Williams, Kai Weisinger, Paul Humpoletz, Jennifer Ehle

Review by Steve Rhodes
1 star out of 4

In theory the new movie BACKBEAT is about the early days of the Beatles in Hamburg and Liverpool before they became famous. At least this is the movie I went to see. This movie would have been or at least should have been fascinating. I was a teenager in the 60s and was a big fan of the Beatles's music when I was growing up.

Forget theory. The film known as BACKBEAT is actually about Stuart Sutcliffe (Stephen Dorff) who dropped out of the group to paint and about his girlfriend and photographer Astrid Kirchherr (Sheryl Lee).

A review of this botched attempt at telling the early life of the Beatles is pretty easy. If it was really this boring why make a movie, and if it wasn't, why is this movie so?

Now there are a few, and only a few good aspects of this film. First and foremost, there are about a dozen music segments. Ah, that is the good news. The bad news is that most of them seem to last all of about thirty seconds so that the audience is not distracted from the awful movie about Sutcliffe. There is also Astrid's wonderful smile. I am sure there must have been something else good about the film, but I am unable to recall anything. For the short music clips and for Astrid's smile, I generously award the picture a single star.

If anybody ever makes a good film about the early days of the Beatles, I would love to see it. My recommendation is to pass this one by and look for one of the many Beatles documentaries if you want to know more.

Copyright 1994 Steve Rhodes

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