John Lennon’s image, life and work is woven so deeply into the fabric of our shared cultural history that, to me, he’s become almost invisible. For the first hour, this well-meaning documentary on his deportation case treads overly familiar ground — the bed-in, war is over if you want it, power to the people. It’s good to be reminded that Lennon wasn’t a given, could never be taken for granted, but the movie doesn’t really take off until Nixon decides that he was a real threat to the state (and his reelection.) In 1972, Dick took the advice of Strom Thurmond and moved to get the damn peacenik out of the country — but after Watergate and a few counter-lawsuits, Lennon got to stay at the Dakota. In the end, it’s obvious not just to Gore Vidal that the Liverpudlian rabblerouser was more American than the patriotic bullies and wire-tappers.

Curious coincidence: Lennon and I used the same immigration law firm. So for what it’s worth, that’s two degrees of separation. And we all shine on….

The U.S. vs. John Lennon. David Leaf and John Scheinfeld, 2006. ***

[tags]film, gore vidal, documentary, 3 stars, john lennon, yoko ono, nyc, immigration, richard nixon, strom thurmond, illegal wiretaps[/tags]