The U.S. vs. John Lennon
Filmmakers explore John Lennon’s extraordinary social impact.
Talk about a missed opportunity, said Lisa Rose in the Newark, N.J., Star-Ledger. 'œImagine a naÃ¯ve, simplistic documentary about the most complex, cynical member of the Beatles.' Filmmakers David Leaf and John Sheinfeld document President Richard Nixon's attempts to punish the pop icon for his political activities, but are too preoccupied with portraying Lennon as a persecuted saint to take interest in him as a human being. Blame it (once again) on Yoko Ono, said Bob Strauss in the Los Angeles Daily News. The film's creators traded objectivity for access, relying almost solely on Ono's personal archives. But 'œthe compromise was worth it,' if only for the rarely seen footage that catches Lennon with his guard down. He's funnier, smarter, and more intense than ever. Here was the pop star turned political animal, said Owen Gleiberman in Entertainment Weekly. Lennon's love-ins and other stunts cleverly converted the press' fascination with his marriage into publicity for social causes. But they also risked making the entire peace movement seem an extension of his celebrity. The U.S. vs. John Lennon should have explored this 'œcontradictory romanticism of Lennon the radical.' Instead it trots out Tricky Dick and the era's other usual suspects, just to knock them down again.