At the time of George Michael’s untimely death back on Christmas Day 2016, the veteran singer was in the midst of putting together this documentary. Only forty-eight hours prior to that fateful day, George had been in the editing suite cutting together footage for Freedom, a documentary which initially was only due to cover the five years of his life he spent in a bitter legal battle with Sony over his contract. The film grew beyond that initial remit, expanding into a nostalgic look into the singer’s life, behind the mic, on the stage and his personal struggles with grief and love.

The documentary, which is left virtually untouched by hands other than George’s (who knew he was an expert filmmaker?) takes a poignant journey through the life of a man who wasn’t perfect but was loved by many across the globe, with a few of his friends and the unlikeliest of celebrity fans on hand to describe the man behind the music and his unquestionable talent and musical genius.  The cast of interviewees plays out like a list of living musical legends and the most recognisable faces on the planet with the original Supermodels Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, and artists Tracy Emin, Elton John, Niles Rodgers, Mary J. Blige, Liam Gallagher and many more. Stevie Wonder – who jokes that he never knew George was white – is just one of the many featured here, each with their own customised vinyl laced with George’s iconic songs describing how each song made them feel and the intricacies of the music.

The one name that sticks out in that list is Liam Gallagher, and it is surprising to learn that he was just as big a fan of George’s music as he was of John Lennon’s. Gallagher fills the film with unexpected anecdotes calling George a “Modern. Day. Elvis.”-  while recalling his listening experiences of his music with candour and most importantly humour which lifts the vibe of the documentary when it dips in and out of the more serious and sombre tones which made up his life.

George Michael Freedom UncutWe take a ride through his early Wham! days, up through all the pivotal moments in his musical career, from the phenomenal success of his first solo album Faith and the ego created within him to the moment he faced a backlash from the black music community after winning a string of awards for Favourite Male Soul/RnB vocalist at the American Music Awards in 1989, which hit him hard. We revisit his case with Sony via old news archive footage and previous interview appearances and we are reminded of his phenomenal performance of Somebody to Love for the Freddie Mercury tribute concert in which he was suffering from his own heartbreaking news that his then-lover Anselmo Feleppe had been diagnosed HIV positive.

Archive footage is meshed together with flawless and stylish grace, interlaced with the interviews and a number of personal, never been seen before, home video footage of George with his first love Anselmo before his tragic passing from an AIDS-related illness.

A must for any diehard fan, you’ll laugh and feel that aching sensation in your heart as the film takes you on a rollercoaster ride. The biggest issue with George Michael: Freedom Uncut is that it hardly covers anything we don’t already know or have seen before, most of what unfolds here has already been seen in the 2004 George Michael – A Different Story documentary which took us on the same journey of personal triumphs and heartbreaking tragedies but is angled in a slightly different way.  There also lies the question, why does it not mention anything from the five years of his life that come before his death. If any of you are looking for closure from this documentary, it simply won’t come.

The doc will be released as a global cinema event on Wednesday 22nd June by Trafalgar Releasing.

George Michael Freedom Uncut
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Features and News Writer at HeyUGuys, Once failed wannabe actress, Ex-music industry veteran who once dabbled in Artist Management, and now Film Journalist extraordinaire. My love for the arts has seen my fingers in many pies but my love of Film won the battle. Current work credits include Film Journalist/Writer at HeyUGuys, Film Editor at Flavourmag, London Live's London Film Club and DIY Magazine. Previous work credits contributor at The Voice Newspaper, FlickFeast, MyFilmClub and film review slot on radio.
george-michael-freedom-uncut-reviewThough it covers similar ground as previous films, this is perhaps the most comphrehensive look at the life and magnetism of George Michael. Perfect for fans of the singer.