Good Ol' Freda

2013

Good Ol' Freda

Critics Consensus

Good Ol' Freda proves that even after all these years, some corners of Beatles history remain unexplored -- and just as fascinating as the chapters we all know by heart.

85%

TOMATOMETER

Total Count: 33

78%

Audience Score

User Ratings: 621
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Movie Info

Freda Kelly was just a shy Liverpudlian teenager when she was asked to work for a local band hoping to make it big. Though she had no concept of how far they would go, Freda had faith in The Beatles from the beginning, and The Beatles had faith in her. History notes that The Beatles were together for 10 years, but Freda worked for them for 11. Many people came in and out of the band's circle as they grew to international stardom, but Freda remained a staple because of her unfaltering loyalty and dedication. As the Beatles' devoted secretary and friend, Freda was there as history unfolded; she was witness to the evolution - advances and setbacks, breakthroughs and challenges - of the greatest band in history. In GOOD OL' FREDA, Freda tells her stories for the first time in 50 years. One of few films with the support of the living Beatles and featuring original Beatles music, the film offers an insider perspective on the beloved band that changed the music industry. (c) Magnolia

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Critic Reviews for Good Ol' Freda

All Critics (33) | Top Critics (16) | Fresh (28) | Rotten (5)

Audience Reviews for Good Ol' Freda

  • Mar 15, 2014
    Freda Kelly was the Beatles' secretary. A shy, humble girl who's admirably loyal to the band's privacy. Hence, this documentary is deadly uneventful. Even at just 86 minutes, the film seems too long, and Kelly's endless shrugs, giggles and blushes soon turn tedious. The stress on soundbites from forgotten Merseybeat musicians over thoughts from, say, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr and George Martin is another glaring problem. The score cuts corners by featuring just a handful of Beatles songs and filling the void with earlier songs that the group covered.
    Eric B Super Reviewer
  • Sep 23, 2013
    If you asked me a week ago who Freda Kelly was, I would've had no idea, and probably wouldn't care. This was stop #1 at CIFF for me, and honestly, who wouldn't want to see a movie pertaining to The Beatles ? Or so I thought it was about The Beatles. Really, the film is about their career long secretary, Mrs. Freda Kelly. The film documents her "past glories" with the band themselves, wherein she elaborates what it was she did for them, and facts about The Beatles. But rather than treating them as one the most successful and influential band in music history, she describes them as individuals: normal human beings. This was my major interest in the film. The film really gives you insight not only into Freda Kelly, who is amazing herself, but it gives a kind of inside access into the REAL Beatles, rather than the ones you saw, or heard. As for Freda herself, throughout the film, her emotions seem genuine. The stories she tells resembles the truth. It's not a perfect film, or anything along the lines of "Being Elmo," or "Exit Through The Gift Shop," but "Good Ol' Freda" is a heartwarming story of just an ordinary woman with a very extraordinary story to tell,.
    Anthony L Super Reviewer
  • Sep 22, 2013
    Many have held the title "The Fifth Beatle" over the last 50 years from disk jockey Murray the K, musician Billy Preston and producer George Martin but after watching this look back at the early Beatles that honor should be bestowed on Freda Kelly. She served as the head of the band's Fan Club for eleven years and proved to more loyal than the four lads themselves. A self admitted private person, Freda seemed an unlikely choice for a movie of this sort but was very unassuming in her affections and protections for the Beatles. An innocent (only 17 at the time) in what was a very innocent time, good ol' Freda could never exist in 2013 and that is a shame. (9-22-13).
    John C Super Reviewer
  • Sep 08, 2013
    Many documentaries have been made about The Beatles, so don't go into GOOD OL' FREDA expecting a searing look inside the most popular, beloved band of all time. You'll be greatly disappointed. Instead, this is a film about the loveliness of privacy and integrity. Freda Kelly was an unassuming Liverpudlian teen when she was handpicked to work as the secretary of the Beatles' Fan Club. There when they were unknowns and there when they disbanded, Freda is one of the few in the trusted inner circle who didn't sell her story to the tabloids or write a book. She even gave away priceless memorabilia to the fans or donated it for a good cause. Ryan White, in fact, was originally asked by Freda to document her story just so she could have a DVD to show to her grandchildren. She wanted them to know that Grandma had perhaps the coolest job of any teenager in the history of the world, Alexander the Great notwithstanding. It is with such humble intentions that he began to sit her down to tell her story. Although he works with such documentary conventions as chronological storytelling and Ken Burns photo zooms, White gets something very special here. Here's a woman who could spill the beans and give us the goods, yet she steadfastly refuses to do just that, which in and of itself is the most compelling thing about the film. Frankly, I have no interest in sordid details. It's enough to hear from her that John was grumpy sometimes, that George was considerate Paul was fun, and Ringo had a mother she adored. We also are treated to wonderful photos and film from the early days, when the Beatles played a local dive called The Cavern Club. Equally interesting are Kelly's recollections of the Beatles' manager, Brian Epstein. She pinpoints his closeted rage, and very humanely grew to understand him. It's sweet to see a woman of her age display such a caring, open mind and heart. One could argue that the film gets repetitive when Freda details over and over the volume of fan mail and her endeavors to get the band to sign autographs, but it's her utter sense of decorum and kindness that mesmerized me. How refreshing it is to see a documentary subject not, as they like to say in reality shows these days, "throw someone under the bus". We live in a time where we're accustomed to seeing people be nasty to each other and call it entertainment. White and Kelly's display of basic human kindness is just the jolt I needed. I was privileged to catch a screening of the film with both White and Kelly in attendance. The standing ovation they received felt so genuine. The audience, high on the nostalgia the film evokes, cold barely contain their excitement and gratitude.
    Glenn G Super Reviewer

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