The documentary film The Beatles: Eight Days a Week – the Touring Years hit the box offices on 15 September in the United Kingdom, home to the famous band members. The director of the film is Ron Howard, a filmmaker and an actor from the USA. The film focuses on the Beatles’ touring years. The Beatles have had an enormous influence both on European and American culture; moreover, ‘boy bands’ were never as popular as during the Beatles era, and the band was the best example of this concept.
Although there are enough documentaries about the band, this movie aims to show a ‘unique story’, using the rare footage from the 1960s, as well as presenting interviews with Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr, George Harrison, and John Lennon. The living members of the band (McCartney and Starr), as well as the wives of John Lennon and George Harrison, took part in the production of the movie.
The main aim of the documentary was to address both the long-time fans of the band and the younger enthusiasts, or even those who have no idea who the Beatles are. Howard explores the wild touring years of the band, giving insights of their lives during it, but fails to go beyond that and picture a more personal, ‘close-up’ look of the band. The film’s main points are the Beatles’ touring years (1962-1966), the Beatlemania expansion throughout the world, and the Beatles’ part in the civil rights movements in the 1960s.
The information provided by the director may not be completely new, and it does not aim to be; it is rather a nostalgic journey back to the years of the Beatlemania. However, the film can also be entertaining for those who were born much later and would like to experience the madness of these years through a TV screen. Howard interprets the Beatlemania from his point of view: as an initial part of his youth that is nice and joyful to remember. However, the director only focuses on the Beatles’ first four albums and does not go any further, possibly because he does not want to focus on the conflicts between the band members that arose later.
Although I genuinely like the positive mood of the film and the sense of nostalgia it transmits, I am disappointed that the director almost does not focus on the personal life of the Beatles. The image of the band (four clever, witty Englishmen) was often exploited by the media, but a closer look at their personal life, families, and children is missing.
One could hope for it after the Lennon’s famous comparison of the band and Jesus was presented or when the director focused on the Beatles’ role in civil rights movements, but Howard chose to focus on the rush of the tours and onslaught of fans. Little time is devoted to the members’ personalities, and the years when the band has begun to become something more than a ‘boy band’ are left out. It may not be necessary for the people who followed the Beatles through their hard journey, but the younger generations are left to wonder what these incredibly famous musicians were like behind their public personas.
Overall, the documentary is catchy and provides a profound view of the fierce years of the Beatles’ tours in the 1960s. It has a pleasant sense of nostalgia and leaves the viewer in a cheerful mood. However, personal life and the inner world of the Fab Four were not addressed properly; the film is rather a happy-go-lucky dedication to the great band from Liverpool than a serious and deep documentary.