Good Ol' Freda: movie review

  • Movies
  • Documentary

The Beatles’ decade of hegemony never ceases to emit newly subjective versions of history. Hence, we have this rather sweet, comfy documentary chronicling the career of Freda Kelly, the supergroup’s microcelebrity secretary, manning the phones starting in the pre-Ringo era—she calls the drummer “Richie”—into postbreakup. Now a blowsy sexagenarian Liverpool grandma still working a desk job, Kelly has apparently never capitalized on her interface with global super-duper-stardom, happily engaging in interviews yet not granting the filmmaker a single salacious dollop of gossip. (White’s movie is equally modest; no interviews from the surviving Beatles disturb its gentle, insular glow.)

As Kelly was also the official fan-club president, she liked to define herself as “just a big fan” and was as protective of “my boys” as she was delighted to be on the inside of the group’s magical mystery tour (and, uncredited, appearing in Magical Mystery Tour). A crinkly-eyed plain Jane who served as something of a Liverpudlian anchor while the Fabbers circled the globe, this particular fifth Beatle is lovely working-class company, and White’s revelation-free, nostalgia massage of a film works the archivals with genuine fondness.

Follow Michael Atkinson on Twitter: @AtkinsonZero

Release details

Rated: PG
Release date: Friday September 6 2013
Duration: 86 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Ryan White
Screenwriter: Ryan White, Jessica Lawson
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