As a die-hard Beatles fan, I have seen every documentary and read numerous books about the band and their solo careers. When it comes to John Lennon, I have always been more interested in his life and career. One thing mentioned quite a bit in Lennon’s legacy is the infamous “lost weekend.” To sum up, the “lost weekend” occurred when Lennon went to Los Angeles and had a downward spiral as he drank and partied every night. He had gone on the trip with his assistant, turned lover, May Pang, by his side. After watching Stuart Samuels, Eve Brandstein, and Richard Kaufman’s The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, I now understand that time to be something entirely different.
After dropping out of college at 18, May Pang found herself working for Apple Records, the same Apple Records that her favorite band, The Beatles, owned. Pang suddenly ended up being the assistant to both John Lennon and Yoko Ono. She would assist the iconic rock couple in making avant-garde films. From there, Pang would become their secretary, screening calls for the Beatle under the advisement of Ono. The relationship would only get closer (and stranger) as Ono would set Pang up with Lennon after she found out he was unfaithful. This would be the beginning of the “lost weekend.”
“…Lennon went to Los Angeles and had a downward spiral…He had gone on the trip with his assistant, turned lover…”
Here is where The Lost Weekend: A Love Story gets even more intriguing. It was commonly thought that Yoko Ono was the cause and initiator of John Lennon going to Los Angeles for a weekend with May Pang. This is not entirely true, as Pang reveals that it was Lennon’s idea because he wanted to escape Ono. For over a year, Lennon and Pang spent time together and had deep feelings for each other. At one point, the relationship had gotten so serious she claims that they had plans to move in together.
Although May Pang tells most of the tale, we also hear from the icon’s eldest son, Julian Lennon, who witnessed much of this relationship. Pang and Julian Lennon were very close, which I had not known before. It is beautiful to know that the two remain in close touch, yet sad when you see them walking around the city, as he closely resembles his late father. You can’t help but think of what if John Lennon and May Pang’s relationship would have lasted this long. Other voices lend themselves to completing this narrative with archival footage and phone interviews. Paul McCartney’s voice is even heard. The film has a lot of archival footage, including some of Lennon’s famous appearances. Brandstein, Kaufman, and Samuels got a hold of an original audio cassette of Lennon singing a song to Pang.
The Lost Weekend: A Love Story clears up all the myths and rumors. It is told by one of the two people who actually experienced it. Pang’s testimony is shocking and emotional. It made me understand a historic event in the music world differently than I had seen it for years. The infamous “lost weekend” now feels like a complete arc now that Pang has gotten to tell her misunderstood side. This is not just another Beatles documentary. It is something in its own category. This is someone’s love story, a very beautiful one.
"…something in its own category."