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George Harrison: Portrait of a Human Being.
on October 10, 2011
I just finished watching this on cable over the span of the last two days, parts 1 and 2, but as far as I'm concerned they could have run the entire documentary in one day, and I would have sat through the entire 5-hour uminterrupted run. A nicely done biography courtesy of Martin Scorsese on the life, music, and personality of "the quiet Beatle." Although some of the editing was a bit choppy on some of the musical footage, I found the biography to be a fascinating look into a performer I didn't really know about as much as I thought I did.
One thing you come away with is that George, in his aspiration to spread love, was greatly loved in return by friends and family for a lot of obvious reasons. What was really nice to see is that he was accepted with his moody side as well, something lots of people look at in others first, disregarding the rest. Of all the people interviewed for commentary, the most inciteful ones seemed to be Eric Clapton, Tom Petty, and wife Olivia.
George's religious philosophy and world views may not necessarily be eye to eye with your own, but anyone who is trying to make a difference in the lives of the lesser off and is a true advocate for positive change is a good icon for the world at large. Apparently the quiet Beatle had a gift for reaching out and opening people's minds at a one-on-one level, though not good at delivering speeches in front of thousands. He was obviously very personable, candid, and passionate about the things that he believed in. That passion--or any--can make an orator out of a mute. Funny how one of the most telling things about him was his eyes! You can see the depths of his emotions constantly, and maybe the weight of the world was something he placed too firmly on his own shoulders. You would be moody too!
In contrast, we see he had a very playful side, loved mischief, and got simple joy out of colors, flowers, and close friendships. Unfortunately, the mischief veered into unfortunate territory for the main women in his life, and Olivia makes it plain in what she says about him--or, rather, what she DOESN'T say. "The key to a long marriage...Don't get divorced," speaks volumes on her thoughts about his quirks and aberrant behavior. She was trying to be graceful without giving details, but not too many people appreciate infidelity. Was he a good husband? Well, it's very obvious she loved him, which covers up a multitude of foibles. Was he a good father? It certainly looked like it to me, because Dhani seems to be a good kid, and boy, he sure looks a lot like his dad! Was he a good friend? Undoubtedly. Was he a great spiritualist? He tried his hardest with lots of success. Was he a great musician? Ringing affirmative!
Moments that stand out in the film:
George standing protectively by John's side after Stu Sutcliffe passed away while Astrid shot their photos.
George laughing and singing along to "This Boy" while viewing an old Beatle performance.
Eric Clapton's recounting the entire Patty Boyd situation.
The wonderful footage of that huge, sprawling mansion.
All the interviews with Tom Petty, from the funny ukelele story to his recounting of George's post Orbison death comment: "Aren't you glad it's not you?" Well, at least he was bold enough to say what most people are thinking anyway.
The music footage, of course, and getting to see nearly everyone who was anybody in it!
The most touching part for me was after that lunatic broke into the estate, nearly killing George and Olivia, forcing them to have to fight back. The results of the attack seemed to bring out the best thing for George in his preparation for death: closure. His telling Olivia that he finally figured out he really had to let go of all his bitterness and be more forgiving made me want to take stock in the way I've been conducting my own life, and maybe it's time to be more spiritual myself. No matter what your faith is, forgiveness can do wonderful things--well, I've generally seen it in other people.
To sum it up, this was an excellent account of George's life because it didn't put him on a sugary pedestal. It was brutally and delightfully honest, portraying the man as a multi-talented, intelligent, loving, spiritual human being with flaws like anyone else. His major goal toward the end of his life was to be more and more God conscious. In closing, all I can say is bless you, George.