There were very few live-action films I saw as a child. I grew up on animated Disney movies and old video tapes of Care Bears. One exception was The Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night. I was born in 1989 so a movie from 1964 may seem like an odd choice for a review but it’s one the best so I couldn’t resist.
The film follows the Fab Four as they make their way to a television taping by train and automobile and are constantly being swarmed by screaming girls. On the way to London, Paul, John, George and Ringo must deal with Paul’s mischievous grandfather (he’s very clean, isn’t he?), who later convinces Ringo to go out on his own while the others desperately try to find him before their concert.
It’s a simple plot but that’s exactly what makes the film genius. Each of the four give a unique performance and made me believe that they were just being themselves, which I’d love to continue to believe. As if it was the forerunner to reality TV. For years I thought that the man who played their manager was their actual manager.
As famous as the Beatles are, I was under the impression that my family had gained access to a rare and valuable treasure. I had no idea anybody had seen this movie except for me and my family. Certainly none of my friends had. Imagine my shock when I eventually found out it was loved by millions and nominated for two Oscars for music and writing. And I couldn’t agree with those nominations more.
The songs in A Hard Day’s are catchy and mostly upbeat but the screenplay is why I watch this movie repeatedly. It’s just so darn funny. I’ve memorized most of the parts that I laugh at so I know when they’re coming, but I still find myself laughing, sometimes uncontrollably. I recently watched this with my roommates and I was glancing out of the corner of my eye to see if they caught the quick one-liners uttered by John Lennon or the brief eye movements of Paul McCartney that crack me up every time. They didn’t always laugh but that’s perfectly fine. This film allows you to laugh at what you find funny and just enjoy the rest. Nobody will laugh at every witty remark but they’re there for the taking.
There may be a sense of nostalgia that contributes to my love for this film but I honestly believe that even if I saw it today for the first time I’d love it just as much as I did when I was five.