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Lennon Naked

2.8 out of 5 stars 26 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Christopher Eccleston (Doctor Who, Heroes) stars as one of the most enduring and enigmatic figures of the 20th Century, John Lennon, in this riveting drama. One quarter of “The Fab Four,” peace activist, visual artist, and author, John Lennon was a man whose personal life was never short on drama, intrigue and eventually, conspiracy. Thirty years after his death, Lennon Naked presents an inside look at the hugely popular musician as he moved from a Beatle to an icon. It covers a period of wildly fluctuating fortunes from 1964 to 1971, a time of worldwide adulation at one extreme but a combination of frustration and despair at the other. From the death of father-figure and manager Brian Epstein, his break-up with first wife Cynthia and his fascinating love affair with Yoko Ono, through to his spiraling drug use and decision to leave England for New York, this is the story of an artist destroying everything to find himself.


Director Edmund Coulthard and writer Robert Jones teamed up to tackle this entertaining yet sensational account of John Lennon's life, Lennon Naked, which aired on the BBC and in Japan before making its way to America. This fictionalized biography takes up subject matter surrounding Lennon's thorny relationship with his alcoholic father, Freddie Lennon (Christopher Fairbank), and attempts to psychoanalyze Lennon's life decisions, up to his leaving the Beatles and teaming up with Yoko Ono (Naoko Mori), based on his childhood dramas. The feature is all about Christopher Eccleston taking on the incredible difficulty of acting the part of such a recognizable icon. He does this in stride, exuding a confidence, indeed a stubbornness that this film's John Lennon succeeds and suffers with. In any biographical story, it's a danger to assume that the viewer comes away knowing a celebrity any better than before, and Lennon Naked offers such a presumably intimate take on Lennon's personal life that it frequently oversteps the bounds of respectability. For example, after Lennon, in the film, dabbles with drugs and glimpses Yoko, it ties his abandonment of his steadfast but dull, suburban wife, Cynthia Lennon (Claudie Blakley), to his abandonment by his father. Every time, in the film, Lennon leaves someone or is left, flashbacks to his childhood in which his dad bids him adieu on some British pier with balloons wafting into the sky heavy-handedly drive the connection points home. If one can ignore sentimentality like this, one can enjoy the uncanny capabilities of the actors playing the other Beatles, Paul McCartney (Andrew Scott), Ringo Starr (Craig Cheetham), and George Harrison (Jack Morgan), and early on, Brian Epstein (Rory Kinnear), during press meetings or warding off girls in the grips of Beatlemania. Sequenced chronologically, Lennon Naked begins right before Epstein's death and takes one through Lennon's leaving London for New York. As years flash by, actual vintage footage of the Beatles and of Lennon commingle with the fictional biopic, adding greatly to its credibility. However, be warned: Lennon Naked is sheer entertainment, not documentary. It's odd to think of an actual person's life providing fodder for fictional narrative, but when it's done well, it can make for some satisfactory viewing to quench die-hard fans who miss this beloved and very talented man who lived in the public eye. --Trinie Dalton

Special Features


Product Details

  • Actors: Various
  • Directors: Various
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Subtitled, Widescreen, NTSC
  • Language: English (Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo)
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: NR (Not Rated)
  • Studio: BBC Home Entertainment
  • DVD Release Date: November 23, 2010
  • Run Time: 90 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (26 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #29,341 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Lennon Naked" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: DVD
This is a very difficult movie to get through. As anyone who has read a book or two about Lennon, or heck even a detailed article about his life, knows he has his negative side. We all are flawed and we've all made poor choices. Lennon was no exception, having abandoned his first wife and child, abused drugs, and sometimes treated friends and business partners with disregard.

But, as evidenced by hours upon hours of audio and video footage, Lennon was an interesting, good humored, intensely creative person. None of that is portrayed in Lennon Naked. The film chooses to focus exclusively on the most depressing, least flattering aspects of Lennon's personality. We don't see him writing songs, playing guitar, or recording music.

The basic "plot" finds Lennon dealing with his father, who abandoned him as a child, returning to his life. After years of not seeing him, Freddie Lennon tries to re-establish a relationship with his son. The results are mixed, as Lennon hasn't forgiven him. During all of this, we see that Lennon treats his own son Julian roughly the same way.

I loved Christopher Eccleston as Doctor Who. Not only is he laughably old to be playing Lennon as 20something man (Eccleston is 46, six years older than Lennon at the time of his death), he looks nothing like him. He does a passable vocal impersonation but otherwise does very little to evoke Lennon.

Some scenes reenact press conferences that the real actual footage of is readily available (in far worthier films like the 1988 documentary "Imagine: John Lennon"). In all cases, the actual footage is FAR more compelling than the staged versions. In other words, with so many documentary films existing about Lennon there is little reason to bother with this sad movie.
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Format: DVD
There is so much biographical material on The Beatles and John Lennon, I was curious to see what angle the BBC's "Lennon Naked" might take. A psychological portrait of loss and alienation form the crux of this film which presents the more negative aspects of a unique artist. Charting a timeframe from 1964 to 1971, we see Lennon reconnect with an estranged father, become entangled with Yoko Ono, dismantle his marriage, disband The Beatles, take up political activism, and eventually leave Britain altogether. As with most bio-pics, there is plenty of fact and plenty of invention. I do think "Lennon Naked" portrays an interesting side to Lennon, but any historical background or context is rather rushed. It probably helps to come into "Lennon Naked" with pre-existing knowledge of the events in questions.

For me, the primary reason for watching "Lennon Naked" is Christopher Eccleston's uncompromising performance (even if he's a bit old at the outset). Never does the screenplay try to endear us to Lennon or soften his edges. I found that to be the most refreshing aspect of the picture. Eccleston has literally and figuratively stripped down Lennon and presents us with a man very difficult to like, and in doing so has created something that feels very real. Ultimately, though, your appreciation with "Lennon Naked" will be determined by your expectations. There is surprisingly little actual biography--just snippets of a life lived. This is a character piece in which Lennon systematically pushes everyone away from him with a standoffishness that is surprisingly candid. It is the self-indulgent artist versus the world, at least until Yoko shows up.
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Format: DVD
If you have fond feelings toward the memory of John Lennon, I would stay away from this film. It presents a pretty biased look at the final years of Lennon in the late 1960s presenting him as nothing but a radically depressed a-hole. Christopher Eccleston resembles a mid-1970s John Lennon & does a pretty good vocal impression. Im a fan of his and I wanted to like this production. Hes way too old to play the 23 year old Lennon we see in 1964 in the beginning. The Beatle wig looked silly on him. Naoko Mori is fine as Yoko. The guy who plays Paul does a good voice, but the Beatles other than Lennon dont resemble their real world counterparts, nor are they featured in much of this story. The entire tale dramatizes every depressing and negative thing that Lennon experienced/did during that era. Sure everyone can be depressed and everyone can be a cruel jerk once in a while, but thats almost all John Lennon is presented as here. What about all the fun, happy times which also fill our lives? Lennon is not permitted any. What of all the great music he created on the White Album, etc.? You wont see or hear anything about that here. Lennon left England because of the negative treatment he and Yoko received in the British press. The makers of this production seem to have never forgiven him for that and this film is their revenge. Im sure Lennon was a self-centered jerk plenty of times, but Im also sure thats not ALL he was.
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Format: DVD
As we were watching this film when it aired on PBS, I got involved with what the filmmaker, Edmund Coulthard was trying to say and take it at face value. I had fewer problems with the choice of casting that many others here seemed to have because to me it wasn't really about the cast. Being a self-considered Lennon fan this was a little hard for me to watch and I had to ask myself if it was the human ability to want to elevate our heroes after they are gone. The nostalgia factor as it were.

As another reviewer writes here, to me and what I know of John and his life, public and private, he was a complicated person, full of extremes. His talent and intelligence was unquestionable. His emotional side ran the gamete from nasty and very self-involved to very loving and giving of himself. He was, or acted like he was a little crazy. True artists, musicians and actors are often eccentric and self-absorbed. It seems go with the territory.

We know from all the other media about his life that John was not perfect but I think like many of us, he strove to be... to give something back. He was VERY human, and his life, by choice as well as not, has been well documented on film (home movies as well as professional footage,) books and interviews of those that knew him best!

So why would we need a semi-fictional biopic of this nature unless it had to do with money? Why was this film necessary for the director and producers to produce?

Upon reflection, I wonder what the purpose really was in making this film? Was this made in search of a new artistic angle in which to view Lennon's life, or in search of money? Did the film makers have a contractual necessity to make it? Were they behind the 8-ball and had to produce something the BBC could promote? I have to keep asking myself, what was the intention? What was the point?
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