“Get Back”: Living With The Beatles Is A Must

Matthew Levine, Editor in Chief

As the renowned music critic Steve Hyden wrote this week, it is very difficult to review “Get Back, the new 8-hour, behind-the-scenes Beatles documentary on the makings of “Let It Be” and their final live performance. 


But I will try. 


It’s an emotionally-draining, long, yet incredible masterpiece assembled by Peter Jackson that provides the greatest insight into any band’s work life. While the original “Let It Be” documentary presented The Beatles on the brink of their breakup, “Get Back” presents a lively different perspective of The Beatles


Paul, John (is he or is he not on heroin?!) George and Ringo can be seen joking throughout the three-part film while they have approximately three weeks to record a full album. The audience is a fly on the wall to arguably the greatest band in history’s work life — we are all experiencing the musical genius within the walls of Twickenham and Apple Studios. 


Arguably the most fascinating part of the film comes within the first hour of part one where we see Paul aimlessly strumming his bass until he begins riffing on the foundation of “Get Back.”. While seeing the creative process behind “Get Back,” “Don’t Let Me Down” and “Let It Be,” people who have failed to appreciate the greatness of The Beatles can only look on in awe. 


The dysfunction of The Beatles is all the more fascinating when realizing the incredible music they were making was on the brink of falling apart depending on the day. Between George getting up and quitting the group at the end of part one (don’t worry, the legendary George Harrison later returns) to John Lennon showing up late — and possibly stoned? — to every rehearsal, the band managed to find peace with themselves and make history-shaping music when it mattered. 


There’s no doubt that “Get Back” could have been shorter, as there are moments during all three parts where it’s easy to get restless. However, the goal of the documentary was to accurately portray the band’s work life and Peter Jackson achieved that. The Beatles wasted so much time noodling on their instruments, cracking jokes and showing up late, but I’m all here for it. George and John are both gone forever, and Ringo and Paul will be gone soon too, so the opportunity to experience this type of intimacy; the opportunity to have eight hours of “hangout” time with The Beatles is something that cannot be taken for granted. 


The documentary ends in bittersweet fashion. While it’s amazing to be on the rooftop of their final performance as the police are trying to shut them down for disturbing the peace, it’s sad because it’s over. This was The Beatles’ final performance — they would release “Abbey Road” and then “Let It Be” but for those police officers who were trying to shut the whole thing down — and the people who had their day interrupted — that was the end. 


Until watching “Get Back,” I was uninterested in The Beatles’ music; I largely underestimated the impact they had on society and music and I didn’t realize the musical genius behind so much of their music. “Get Back” is a once-in-a-lifetime experience to live with The Beatles for eight hours and I’ll undoubtedly be reliving those eight hours for years to come on Disney+.