‘Jersey Boys’ details the real story behind the successful group of Frankie Valli and The Four Seasons. The film is filled with humor, some violence, and comedic situations with a backdrop of the most amazing music of our time.
Fans of the Tony award-winning Broadway show and those who are seeing it for the first time will surely enjoy this film. Director Clint Eastwood allows the story to unfold before our eyes without pomp and circumstance. In fact, it is the young boys from Jersey’s wrong side of track and common man approach that is the appeal of this movie.
As the music plays, we are jettisoned back to a simpler time when loyalty, family and friendship played an important part in the lives of those we knew. These values are the driving force of the film. Without this common man touch, the film could have been the same old story of another boy band breaks up.
John Lloyd Young reprises his Tony Award-winning portrayal of the legendary lead singer of The Four Seasons, Frankie Valli. Erich Bergen stars as Bob Gaudio, who wrote or co-wrote all of the group’s biggest hits. Michael Lomenda and Vincent Piazza star respectively as Nick Massi and Tommy DeVito, two original members of The Four Seasons. Oscar® winner Christopher Walken (‘The Deer Hunter’) stars as mobster Gyp DeCarlo.
Within its running time of 134 minutes, Eastwood was able to take the characters from ages 15 to 52 (with the help of age progression makeup) while the audience travels alongside witnessing their lives impacted by fame, tragedy, and redemption.
Eastwood's unassuming touch throughout the film conveys a complicated story in simple terms via lighting and dialogue. His presence is felt throughout the film and lends to the authenticity of the times. For example, he makes a cameo via the television show 'Rawhide (1959)' as he appears on screen in the family's living room.
Great care is taken to show us how young boys from simple beginnings reigned as kings of the music charts. Like the Broadway show, he highlights the back room wheeling and dealing and what it takes to stay on top and the toll that it takes on its participants.
At times the story's focus seems a little contrite. Although Frankie Valli is the primary subject of the movie, I would've liked to have seen more of the lives of the guys in the group and not just skim the surface of their lives. But it is hard to put such a rich and fulfilling life into such a small amount of viewing time.
Music has the power to transport us back to memories of significant times in our lives. The powerful ‘Jersey Boys’ soundtrack has the power to bond the audience to the story. Filled with hits that ruled the radio waves i.e., ‘Sherry’, ‘Walk Like a Man’, ‘Big Girls Don’t Cry’ and ‘My Eyes Adored You’ will conjure up memories long forgotten.
Jersey boy hits theaters this weekend and will become an American classic just like the era that it represents.
This film has been rated R for language throughout. It opens nationwide June 20.