maybe i’m just too jaded or i can’t be affected anymore, but this documentary didn’t do much for me. john lennon was a good guy who helped make some amazing music, but he wasn’t a prophet or an original thinker. in fact, he appears quite puerile in many of his interviews. he dismissively attributes his always getting in trouble with the way his face looks, speaks of an imaginary land called “newtopia,” and when pressed on how many lives he thinks he’s actually saved, points out that they sing his songs at rallies. he toys with the media, but part of me wondered how much of that was a defense. also, if not a defense, why not engage the media with real ideas and real answers? the john lennon in this film was a thinker, but not a serious political activist, in spite of what the film’s interviewees wants you to believe. if you look at his political philosophy and legacy from the forest perspective (as opposed to looking at the individual trees), then you see a man with conviction and principles. i don’t think that his principles are all that realistic, but one still must appreciate his idealism.
the title is somewhat misleading because it sets the documentary up as a chronicle of the battle between lennon and the united states. while this was certainly addressed, it was more a biography than anything else. the fatal flaw of lennon, like it is with many great people, is that his family life wasn’t as peachy as some would make it seem. in fact, looking at the documentary his family life was brilliant, the only problem is that it only included three people – him, yoko and sean. whatever happened to his first born, julian? yoko specifically excludes him in the conversation of their perfect family saying it was a great time when sean was born (julian would have been 12 at the time) and that the three of them were very happy. guess no one’s perfect.