I was skeptical of George Harrison: Living in the Material World before watching it. In fact, I put off watching it. Which is odd because I’m a big Beatles fan. I even saw Concert for George in the theater. But Martin Scorsese’s documentary on the Dark Horse, the Quiet One, the, uh, former Beatle (I’m out of nicknames) isn’t what I expected. It was a warm and intimate documentary that was honest, direct in what it presented and a really touching tribute to a musician and person who left us too soon.
Living in the Material World isn’t an introductory documentary on George Harrison. You’re not going to learn about the day he was born, his family growing up or how he ended up in the Beatles. The documentary focuses more on the little things about him, throughout his life, that fans wouldn’t have otherwise seen.
The documentary is about his son, Dhani, telling a story of how he learned his dad was “on my side” when he got in some trouble with the police at 15 or Tom Petty remembering how George Harrison seemingly had a car full of ukeleles, because “you never know when you might need one and not everyone carries them around.”
Told by interviews with Harrison himself and his closest friends and family, it’s enlightening and actually heartwarming. Equally moving and, as a fan, interesting is the inclusion of home videos, rarely seen photographs and the like.
Beatles fans and George Harrison fans, like myself, will definitely want to see Living in the Material World. For those maybe unfamiliar or not big fans, Living in the Material World will appeal to anyone who likes honest biographical documentaries. Living in the Material World doesn’t paint Harrison as a saint or a sinner, a good guy or a bad guy but as a man trying to do his best with his time in this world.