The Love We Make
Directed by Albert Maysles and Bradley Kaplan
If anything is clear from The Love We Make, the newest Albert Maysles documentary, it's that Sir Paul McCartney could be the most successful politician the left has ever known. The film itself chronicles the creation of The Concert for New York City, a benefit concert following the attacks on the World Trade Center, that promptly materialized in the month following. McCartney had been taxiing out of New York on that fateful day in September, but his plane never took off. In response to the tragedy, McCartney gathered his famous friends to honor the NYFD and NYPD and raised money for The Robin Hood Relief Fund, which provided financial assistance to families of the victims.
Maysles captures McCartney as he is escorted about town, from interview to interview to intimate rehearsals with his band. It is hard then, despite the wealth of material gathered here, to see McCartney in a light one might want —namely, as the man he is "off-duty," out of celebrity mode. Glimpses can be seen as McCartney politely declines autographs, gets noticeably uncomfortable with caked-on makeup, and requires assistance from his staff regarding his own personal schedule. There are scenes in which McCartney asks his driver, George, to get some "distance" from his more diligent adoring fans, that evoke a certain offscreen longing for privacy that the cameras just can't grab.
What the film does expertly include is a myriad of gorgeous performances by McCartney himself, including "I'm Down" and "Let It Be," a valuable asset for any fan. The Love We Make also includes performances by David Bowie, James Taylor, Jay-Z, The Who, and Mick Jagger and Keith, just to name a few. In fact, an entire segment of the film could simply be titled "Paul McCartney Hangs Out With Celebrities" for the plethora of boldface names who stop by the greenroom to chat (Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Jim Carrey, and Steve Buschemi are just the first few names that come to mind).
It's strange now to see the immense amount of support that was given just ten years ago to our very own NYFD and NYPD, the passion behind the rallying cries of "Freedom" and "America," and the sheer number of flag pins, when juxtaposed with today's "Occupy Wherever" mentality. Leave it to McCartney to once again remind us what a country we were, when struck by a threat to our safety and peace of mind not so long ago. The Love We Make can often feel like a long-form commercial for a political candidate, as McCartney's many virtues are espoused again and again. He's sure to have the audience's vote.
Opens November 9 at Film Forum