Who Is Harry Nilsson (and Why is everybody talking about him?) (2006)

Directed by John Scheinfeld

This an artist that I came to know of because he worked with John Lennon on a song from his Walls and Bridges album. When it comes to documentaries about artists, I don’t always need to be a fan to want to see and know about that person’s story. I am always interested in the journey he takes and is shared on film.

I found the documentary to be very interesting and learned about Harry Nilsson who co-wrote Old Dirt Road with John Lennon and appears in John Lennon’s documentary Imagine. I admit that as a Beatles fan this documentary was gold because there were stories and footage I knew nothing of. Ringo was very close to Harry, but all three Beatles are shown hanging out with Nilsson. Apart from that, I fell in love with his music, I never heard it before and found out he wrote a few ones that I heard like One (is the loneliest number). He was an interesting artist and one that based on this sang and recorded what he felt not focusing on being commercial. He was a complex artist and one that had the self-destructive side of many rock stars.

But what shines in the film is his music and what those close to him say, that he was a good man. We see the ups and downs we all go through. There were a few moving moments for me, the first one was when they spoke about Lennon’s death and the effect it had on Nilsson, and using pictures I had not seen of John and Harry, it felt sad all over again. The second was Harry and his last days alive, the pictures and the family and friends talking about it like any life-ending, it was sad.

I enjoyed the film a lot on many levels, I enjoyed discovering his music, the Beatles and their appearance in the film, and the overall story of this great artist.

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