#REVIEW: “THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART”
By Mr. Will Wong
No band defined the Disco era like The Bee Gees and their storied legacy lives on to this day. Five-time Academy Award-nominated Producer Frank Marshall takes the reins and gives us a balanced view of the iconic Trio, with the passion of a fan and an articulate Filmmaker’s lens on HBO Documentary THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART.
The Film is one of the many buried treasures of 2020 that we didn’t realize we needed so badly, filled to the brim with details we didn’t know about the Brothers Gibb. Marshall delivers a heartfelt chronicling of Barry, Robin and Maurice’s journey from their emergence in the late ’60s, to finding their signature sound which catapulted Disco into a household genre. Ultimately, this is a love letter not only to The Bee Gees, but also a love story from each brother to the other. Through archived footage, we learn of the brothers’ growing apart amidst the height of their success, and also we track lesser-known-about younger brother Andy‘s rise to stardom in tandem with The Bee Gees, despite not being a member of the band.
Through musicians who worked intimately with the band and artists who have been influenced by The Bee Gees like Mark Ronson, Justin Timberlake and Chris Martin of Coldplay, we get a complete picture of the intricate details that made their songs such ground and record-breaking hits. Through first-hand accounts, we comprehend the level of artistry that made the Trio so legendary. As a Music aficionado, I reveled in hearing original demos for “Woman in Love“, “How Deep is Your Love” and witnessing exactly how the drum loop (which wasn’t a thing yet at the time) was created for “Stayin’ Alive“. We see how their signature sound got crafted, including Maurice‘s falsetto becoming one of their definitive instruments.
While Marshall shows us the great cultural impact their music had precipitated, the Film also speaks to how being transplanted to New York and the uncertain climate they had been living in then, made for a truthfulness that spoke to the world. Yet also, we see how by the early ’80s, an over-saturation of Disco created a backlash against the genre which effectively was an attack on The Bee Gees whether or not they saw themselves as a Disco act, impacting their own brand adversely. This in turn, led them to become successful Songwriters for other icons including Barbra Streisand, Diana Ross, Dionne Warwick, Dolly Parton and many others since radio would not play them.
I adored this Documentary, which hits all the right notes not only sonically, but emotionally. You feel the pride and craftsmanship that went into their music even if they didn’t always feel the love and appreciation they deserved. And if you don’t leave the Film feeling regretful you didn’t get to see The Bee Gees live, you weren’t paying attention.
THE BEE GEES: HOW CAN YOU MEND A BROKEN HEART streams now on Crave with the HBO add-on. You also can stream its Soundtrack on services like Spotify.