The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart review – fame, hair and regrets | Film

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Here is an unavoidably bittersweet profile to the British-born, Australian-raised music act whose second – or even third – coming in the mid-70s resulted in a pop-culture saturation not seen since the heyday of the Beatles (which, amazingly in retrospect, was just a decade earlier). With Maurice and Robin – and younger brother Andy – all gone to the satin-bedecked rollerdisco in the sky, Barry Gibb is the last Bee Gee standing; leaning on the balustrade of his oceanfront property in Miami, he cuts a melancholy, meditative figure, happy to dwell on past glories but also expressing regret for past brotherly discord and the loss of their camaraderie.

It is directed by Frank Marshall, who is the producer behind a ton of blockbusters from Raiders of the Lost Ark to The Sixth Sense to Jurassic World; he also has an idiosyncratic occasional directorial record including Arachnophobia and Alive. Marshall has created a sober, serious account, with plenty of heavyweight input, including comment from Eric Clapton, Mark Ronson and – bizarrely – Noel Gallagher, who is interesting on the internal dynamic of family-as-bandmates.

Marshall runs through the Bee Gees’ career, with its ups and downs – as well as the dazzling variety of beards and bouffant hairstyles the trio affected over the years. There’s quite a bit of time dedicated to their in-studio activity, including the famous “accidental” discovery of Barry’s falsetto skills during the recording of the 1975 album Main Course. Marshall also dwells at some length on the unpleasant impact of the infamous Disco Demolition night in 1979, which is called out for its overt racism. Andy – with his almost preternatural handsomeness – makes a few brief appearances (but this is not really his story).

The film’s main theme is the brothers’ fractious relationships – Robin and Barry the rivalling peacocks, Maurice the go-between and peacemaker – though Robin and Maurice’s contributions are, obviously, constructed via the archive. An interesting, grown-up musical profile.

• The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is released on 13 December on Sky and 14 December on digital formats.

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Source: The Guardian
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