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The Love We Make - Movie Review - 2011

Paul McCartney Organizes the Post-9/11 Concert for New York City

About.com Rating 4 Star Rating


The Love We Make - Movie Review - 2011

The Love We Make Poster Art

Paul McCartney happened to be in New York City on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the World Trade Center. In response, the former Beatle set about organizing a huge benefit concert intended to raise the spirits of New Yorkers and American citizens, memorialize those who'd lost their lives in the attacks or in their aftermath and embrace their families with moments of emotional relief, and to honor the men and women who were working at Ground Zero. Filmmakers Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan chronicled the organization of the concert, documented the performance, and followed McCartney as he walked and drove through New York City, encountering people from all walks of life, exchanging words of cheer and support with them, and signing autographs -- which, as he comments, they will probably sell on EBay.

Come Together -- With Music

The Love We Make quickly identifies McCartney as a man of great compassion. Witnessing the tragedy of 9/11 at close hand, he was profoundly affected by the massive loss of lives and horrified by the notion that such a horrendous society-shattering incident happened. Like most people, he followed the news that day blow by blow that day, first thinking had there had been a terrible accident, and gradually realizing that New York was under attack.

Early in the documentary, McCartney recounts memories from his childhood in Great Britain during the aftermath of World War II, when citizens were struggling to rebuild their cities after devastating bombing raids had destroyed so many of their homes and other buildings. He recalls seeing his family and other citizens managing to get through their hardships with humor -- and with music.

McCartney felt he could help New York to do the same by organizing a mega-concert to provide relief with spiritual healing and funds. McCartney set about using his personal energies, celebrity and contacts to organize the Concert for New York City, a phenomenal musical memorial, celebration and inspiration. McCartney enlisted a extraordinary number of A-list musicians, entertainers and politicians. The documentary doesn't show all of those who participated, but in the film, McCartney is joined on stage by superstars Jon Bon Jovi, David Bowie, Jim Carrey, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, Billy Crystal, Leonardo DiCaprio, Harrison Ford, Mick Jagger, Kieth Richards, Jay-Z, Billy Joel and Elton John, as well as former president Bill Clinton, New York governor George Pataki, and numerous firefighters and other rescue workers or families who'd lost colleagues and loved ones in the 9/11 catastrophe.

Of The People, For The People

For the film, directors Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan got unusually unfettered access to McCarthy as he rode from place to place around New York City in his limo, stopping to walk the streets and exchange a few words with various man-or-woman-on-the-street New Yorkers, all of whom appear to be quite amazed to see him. For McCartney fans, this footage presents a rare cache of insights about how McCartney relates to people, as well as a close up and personal glimpse of his personal mannerisms -- as he frequently croons a short musical phrase to himself, for example, or drums with his finger tips on his leg. McCartney is kind to everyone -- up to the point where he feels he must escape and coaches his driver about how to ditch any paparazzi who may be following the limo. Throughout the film, McCartney is clearly aware that he's on camera, but doesn't always talk into it -- so, you're made to feel that you're witnessing a casual chat rather than a formal interview.

The Concert

The filmmakers also present rare behind-the-scenes glimpses of backstage preparations for the concert, including rehearsals and candid chats among the various celebrities who come on board to perform and/or support the relief effort. They schmooze, compliment each other on their work, and reminisce about past gigs and encounters. Not a lot is said abut 9/11, but the mood is somber enough to indicate that everyone knows why they're there.

Not all of the concert is featured in the documentary, but there are rousing clips of Elton John, Eric Clapton and the acts in their individual sets, and of McCartney performing Let It Be and other Beatles songs, and Freedom, the song McCartney wrote specifically for New York City following the terrorist attacks. All of the concert footage is fabulous.

All in all, The Love We Make is a powerfully moving documentary, offering an opportunity for audiences to not only learn more about Paul McCartney and be entertained by the former Beatle among a roster of rock stars, but to remember 9/11 and those who lost their lives, and contemplate how the world changed in the aftermath of the attacks, and contemplate how we move forward -- most certainly with music and humor as a part of the plan.

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The Love We Make - Paul McCartney close up


Film Details:

  • Title: The Love We Make: Paul McCartney Paul McCartney Organizes the Post-9/11 Concert for New York City
  • Directors: Bradley Kaplan and Albert Maysles
  • Premiere: September 8, 2011 (Special One-night Theatrical Presentation Nationwide Open only to American Express card holders)
  • Theatrical Release: November 11, 2011 (limited)
  • Running Time: 94 mins.
  • Parental Guidance: Advisory for Parental Guidance for some content and language.
  • Location: New York City
  • Language: English
  • Production Country: USA
  • Distribution Company: Showtime
  • Official Website on Showtime
  • Trailer

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