Directors: David Leaf and John Scheinfeld
From Lion’s Gate and the producers of Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11, comes a fascinating study of musician John Lennon’s evolution from mop-top Beatle to peaceful revolutionary in the tumultuous era of 1966-1976. Conceptual artist Yoko Ono, Lennon’s widow and partner in the Vietnam inspired outrage and mayhem, collaborated with directors Leaf and Scheinfeld on the project and while it would be easy to write off the film as simply a love letter to John or a Hallmark card to his legions of fans, it’s much more than that. A study of the time period and the controversial tactics of both Lennon and the resulting response from our government who, worried about the singer’s power, began deportation proceedings and an in-depth investigation, the film shows all sides of the situation. In addition, it also offers intriguing and well-researched commentary and insights from figures including Carl Bernstein, Gore Vidal, Governor Mario Cuomo, George McGovern, Angela Davis and many others. Inspiring, poignant and especially timely in today’s society, The U.S. Verses John Lennon makes a wonderful point about the role of art as a commentary on the issues and the responsibility of citizens to remain engaged instead of apathetic to political events and foreign policy. Of course, central to these themes, the most celebrated one of the film is the always-important advice of John Lennon regarding peaceful opposition over violence as the best way to cause positive change. The film ends with a bittersweet chronicle of the abrupt and shockingly violent end to John’s short life, which definitely may cause a tear or two, but his works continue to carry on today and you’ll find yourself reaching for your old Lennon albums as soon as it’s over.