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Saturday, June 26, 2021

The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart 2020 * * * * Stars


"In many ways they were chameleons of pop". That is a reference to the Bee Gees. Yup, it's no wonder these three bros lasted over 40 years in the music biz.

With some timeless pop tunes and interviews from the band and peers alike, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is one scorcher of a documentary that rather builds to euphoria. Along with Tina (reviewed in April 2021), "Broken Heart" ranks as one of my favorites of that genre. HBO Max, well you done struck again. 

The Bee Gees were essentially the sounds of my childhood. My mom and dad wore those Gibb brothers 8-tracks down to the nub. At a running time of 111 minutes, "Broken Heart" is done with HBO Films being its cinematic, grand wizard. That means the story of the Bee Gees is told cleanly, spontaneously, and with mounds of energy. The docu literally plops onto the screen and says, "look at me". 

Disco Demolition begot, what separates The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart from other docs is its swift method of no BS. "Broken Heart" gets straight to the point with monster archive footage, insightful probes, and stout editing. 

You get to see the Bee Gees involvement with the late Robert Stigwood (Saturday Night Fever soundtrack baby!). You find out that Eric Clapton had influence on their forwarding career (who knew?). You get some stuff from younger brother Andy Gibb. Finally, you get insight into how the trio of lads transitioned from Beatles-style tuneage to disco. Heck, in all my years reviewing documentaries, I've never seen one such as "Broken Heart" that felt so invigorating, so whimsical. 

Oh and the interviews are tops as well. What a cool breath of fresh air to hear Noel Gallagher, Chris Martin, Nick Jonas, and Justin Timberlake tell us how much they like to anatomize these Australian musical distance runners. In retrospect, The Bee Gees: How Can You Mend a Broken Heart is far from "broken". In fact, it's put together quite nicely. 

Written by Jesse Burleson

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