The U.S. vs. John Lennon - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

The U.S. vs. John Lennon Reviews

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½ January 7, 2016
Slowly grasping a history of The Beatles from many documentaries, The U.S. vs. John Lennon sounded like an ideal chance to learn about one of music's most influential historical figures.

The U.S. vs. John Lennon jumps straight into its story without giving any preceding context to who John Lennon or the history of Richard Nixon's presidency. There is enough pop culture in the world so that most viewers will already understand the background of the documentary even if they didn't grow up during or study the era. However, it does foreshadow the rather small scale the documentary sits on.
The U.S. vs. John Lennon is clearly not a documentary with the broadest scope. Though it aspires to capture a lot of history with John Lennon's plight against the American government, it is limited to how much history it actually covers. Ambitiously choosing to go past the simplistic technique of voice-over narration, The U.S. vs. John Lennon relies on simply stock footage and interviews without a wider picture of the historical context of the story. Surprisingly there aren't any surprising members of The Beatles given contemporary interviews to discuss their perspective on John Lennon which is a real shame, but there is much in-depth discussion given thanks to interviews with Yoko Ono who reflects on her time with John Lennon with passion and sadness. We are also given the perspective of wise people like author Gore Vidal who speaks with such eloquence about the man. So as well as gaining an understanding of precisely how many people John Lennon touched, we are given insight to some of the individuals who have had their lives changed by having known a man like John Lennon. This ensures that the film is not just a documentation of his spectacular existence, but a touching sentiment as a platform to discuss the man he was to the world and to those who really knew him. Putting him on such a pedestal turns out to be a very one-sided approach to the material, but The U.S. vs. John Lennon pleads its case well enough to ensure that audiences are convinced that it is promoting the correct message.
Since The U.S. vs. John Lennon tackles a complicated story about love and war against the context of an oppressive authority, there is a sense that the scope of the documentary could have been larger to truly convey just how much the nation of America reacted to both John Lennon and the US Government. There is room to go into depth about precisely how far the American government went and how involved Richard Nixon and J. Edgar Hoover were in attempting to silence him, but it is not realized due to the one-sided approach of directors David Leaf and John Scheinfeld who are more interested in glorifying his achievements than capturing the real structure behind how they came to be in the face of such oppression. There is potential to delve a lot deeper with The U.S. vs. John Lennon so it is a shame that it failed to achieve that, but there is still no denying the beautiful spirit of the film.
Everyone who has ever heard of The Beatles knows that they made a big mark on history, but The U.S. vs. John Lennon teaches me something about that I didn't already know. The best thing about The U.S. vs. John Lennon is the amount of history it covers in the life of John Lennon. Each member of The Beatles deserves their own story since they all lived out magnificent lives, but the existence of John Lennon could be arguably the most notorious. The U.S. vs. John Lennon captures merely a glimpse of the massive impact he made on the world, but it focuses on a very prominent time in his life. Looking back on his influence as a promoter of peace during a time of war and the counterculture movement, The U.S. vs. John Lennon manages to bring history to life for a short time. Though there is potential for the documentary to go a little deeper, the fact that it only runs for 99 minutes ensures that The U.S. vs. John Lennon never overstays its welcome. The documentary is clear and to the point, concise and intelligent in reminding us all of what John Lennon's spirit was all about. The spirit carries throughout not just the history being depicted but also the film itself.
The atmospheric life of The U.S. vs. John Lennon is kept alive by the soundtrack. Making use of many of John Lennon's musical works at the perfect time, The U.S. vs. John Lennon is ripe with feeling. It gives viewers an effective sense of nostalgia to the time being covered while also supporting the messages being promoted in the documentary. Viewers are given a trip through time by the beautiful music in The U.S. vs. John Lennon and as well as capturing different points in his musical career, it shows us precisely how well it all fit into the changing times of history which supports the notion of depicting the extent of success achieved by The Beatles. The viewers are given a glimpse of the world that The Beatles were in and treated to their music, left to piece together the timely relevance of their material . The U.S. vs. John Lennon is smart enough to trigger this thought pattern within viewers without explicitly stating it, ensuring that the messages of the film are able to seep their way into viewers and encourage them to go out and explore further. This is a smart idea when it is taken into consideration that a mere 99 minutes is the limit on how much material can be covered by the documentary.

So The U.S. vs. John Lennon fails to truly capture the scale of history affected by John Lennon due to its one-sided focus, but with a passionate message about the way the man changed the world, The U.S. vs. John Lennon is a competent documentary with a very direct narrative and a nostalgic soundtrack.
½ January 3, 2016
Saw this documentary last night (Amazon Prime). Although I knew there had been a deportation hearing, I didn't know much about any of this. Very interesting, and I do think that the politics is quite relevant today... different topics of protest, but if Republicans did take the White House this year, we will need some high profile socially-minded people like John that are willing to speak out and risk their popularity for the greater good. I'm afraid I can't think of anyone who could fill his shoes like that.
October 11, 2015
Muy televisivo y convencional en su formato de "cabezas parlantes", pero el documental es un interesante recuento de hechos y entrevistas sobre cómo John Lennon acabó siendo espiado por el FBI, para tratar de sacarlo de los E.U. Además, ofrece una valiosa reflexión sobre los finos límites entre arte y política.
½ October 3, 2015
"I suppose they tried to kill John, but they couldnâ??t. Because his message is stil alive."
June 7, 2014
Excellent documentary recommended to us when we visited John Lennon's childhood home. Surprised I hadn't seen/heard of it before. Uncomfortable viewing for many, I am sure.....
March 4, 2014
Well done documentary, which isn't like the handful of other John Lennon documentaries.
January 7, 2014
Documentary about the U.S. government attempts to silence one of the most outspoken war critics during the Vietnam era, peace icon and rock and roll legend John Lennon. Lennon is such an interesting character to portray, but perhaps a lack of examination of Lennon's negative aspects makes this look rather one sided and less daring than it could have been.
November 5, 2013
Love John Lennon period.
July 31, 2013
grande omaggio a un grande uomo e al suo messaggio di pace e di speranza.
December 30, 2012
Buen documental, nunca es tarde para verlo
December 28, 2012
I gained much respect for the already benevolent John Lennon. It also dissuades your faith in our federal government.
December 27, 2012
This was a pretty interesting documentary that was not necessary a biography of his life, it is more of a film that tells the side of Lennon and his battle to help end the Vietnam War. I love The Beatles so I might be a little bias, but overall I thought this was a pretty good movie that does a really good job of mixing his music with his story!!
November 14, 2012
I thought that the information was really good. It had amazing historians, and it's great that they captured that it wasnt about john lennon entirely,but about the system at large. Yet what I really liked was how they showed the power and spirit that he shared and was able to produce. Its interesting to see that one man trying to share peace with many produced far better results then many trying to put one man down. Thas kinda cool in itself.
November 11, 2012
"The U.S. vs. John Lennon" à (C) um interessante documentário que mostra uma faceta pouco conhecida de seu protagonista: a de ativista.
½ September 30, 2012
Fascinating period of history. The documentary feels a little thin perhaps, and some of the editing is irritating, but terrific footage, which certainly captures the feel of the era.
½ September 26, 2012
An excellent documentary.
½ August 26, 2012
Shocking insight on John's life while living in America
June 10, 2012
Another movie about the Beattles perhaps; however, I might change my mind later.
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