4 out of 5 stars
What do you think of when you hear of the Bee Gees? Most people would admit that the soundtrack to Saturday Night Fever comes to mind and the infamous bass guitar riff from Staying Alive begins in the back of your brain. This musical interlude can be attributed to the brothers from Australia, but there is more to this trio who are mainly remembered for their falsetto tones. Even though they do get painted into a musical corner quickly by many fans, it might surprise most people that they have a history that extends beyond disco and spans across five decades.
Their sound came to define an era, but what most people may not realise is that these men are credited with writing over 1000 songs and they have over 20 career number one hits. Uber-producer and celebrated filmmaker Frank Marshall (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Seabiscuit) brings together the history of the brothers from Down Under. He shares their story and how they managed to remain an influence on multiple generations. With interviews with Barry, the only surviving Bee Gee and loads of rarely seen footage, this is a captivating journey in music history that transcends the band’s career.
Marshall manages to blow apart the limited memories of most devotees by travelling back to the 1960s and showing where the boys made their first big splash in England. He presents how they capitalised on their extraordinary ability to harmonise, then to go on to write and perform some of the biggest hits of 60s, 70s and 80s. All while they wrestled with their own fame and subsequent family tragedies. Then to see how it all seemed to come to an end with the disco backlash in the early 80s.
The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart brings all of this history forward into the present day by interviewing musicians Eric Clapton, Noel Gallagher, Nick Jonas, Chris Martin, Justin Timberlake, music producer Mark Ronson and the other members of the band. We hear how they had been part of the Bee Gees story or confessions of the endearing influence the trio managed to have on the music industry. Not forgetting that they still were part of one of the best-selling soundtracks of all time, a position that has only been surpassed by The Bodyguard.
For those of us who grew up in the era when it felt like the Bee Gees were on every radio station in the world, this film becomes a fascinating excursion down into the past and shows us how much of their story we never really knew. Yet, this is an opportunity for a new generation to be exposed to some of history's most influential musicians. Regardless if you saw Saturday Night Fever in theatres or if you just recently discovered this band on Spotify, this film is a captivating glimpse into the lives of these music icons. One that will leave you with at least one Bee Gee song stuck in your mind for hours afterwards, along with a smile, because you know a bit more about the history behind those falsetto tones.
Reel Dialogue: Brothers
"We are brothers first, a pop group second” - Barry Gibb
One thing that stands out about this film is the connection these musicians had as brothers. Other musicians comment on the unexplainable ability that these men had to harmonise, attributing it to their familial bond. Also, the film manages to capture the highs and lows of their relationships, depicting the appreciation they all saw in one another. Beyond merely working together and finding fame, they conveyed a love for one another as brothers.
Let brotherly love continue. - Hebrews 13:1
One aspect of the Christian faith is how it values the relationship of brothers. More than the familial bonds, the Bible speaks of the importance of seeing others in the faith as brothers and sisters. This connection sets the stage for men and women to overcome difficulties in relationships as families have over the centuries. Brothers may have their trying times and adversity can come. Yet, one thing you are afforded in the life of as a Christian is a whole new family. God’s family. Brothers and sisters in Christ.