Top critical review
The Imagined Reunion of the Walrus and Paul
on July 28, 2016
The personages of John Lennon and Paul McCartney are so etched in the minds of baby-boomers, and others, that we almost feel that we know them personally. We know them from their music, movies, T.V. and radio appearances, and a million newspaper and magazine profiles and interviews. Thus John is the acerbic and biting Mr. Witty Sarcasm and Paul is the mellow and agreeable Mr. Soft-Boiled Eyes. This is a facile summing-up, but not without some truth, of two complex musical artists. And "Two of Us" gives us exactly what we have come to expect. It is a fictionalized drama with comedy about the real day in April 1976 when Paul, hard working and touring with Wings, dropped in unannounced on John, who was in the midst of a five-year loaf in New York's Dakota apartment building. Yoko Ono and son Sean are away, "shopping for a cow." John is initially leery of his old partner, but after a cup of tea and some good weed, the awkwardness dissipates and they are exchanging jokes and banter like in the old days. A swapping of information and recollections, familiar to Beatles fans, is spoken by the actors to establish their characters. John scorns Paul's #1 hit "Silly Love Songs," and Paul questions John's "painful" songs and current torpor. Eventually, they don Peter Sellers-type disguises and head out for a jaunt through Central Park, then drop in for some chocolate at one of John's favorite Italian restaurants. There, a young man approaches Lennon with the expected trembling earnestness and bores him with "You're a real hero to me." Mr. "In-His-Own-Write" fights the temptation to just brush the kid off, and actually engages him in a brief if tart conversation. After this, the two ex-Beatles take a lift to the nearly medieval roof of the Dakota, where understanding Paul psychoanalyzes patient John as "a scared kid who has become a scared man." John looks away and does not disagree. As if!
Aidan Quinn does a tolerable Paul McCartney if you blur your eyes, but Jared Harris, who tries hard, does not look or sound much like John Lennon. Both actors mimic the familiar mannerisms and speech of their characters under the direction of Michael Lindsay-Hogg, who directed the real Beatles' last movie, "Let It Be" (1970). You will see how Lennon and McCartney almost accepted a offer to appear on "Saturday Night Live" for a $3,000 payment, which is a factual story.