Linda & Paul
So let's get one thing straight right away, this made for TV movie may be called "The Linda McCartney Story" but in truth it is the story of Linda & Paul. We may get a glimpse of Linda's life before she met Paul McCartney, as she was a photographer who hung out with the likes of The Rolling Stones and Jim Morrison, but the focus is really on Linda and Paul's life together. As such "The Linda McCartney Story" takes in their dating, their marriage, having children, various events surrounding The Beatles right up to and including Linda McCartney's death after her battle with cancer. But whilst chronicling their life the emphasis of "The Linda McCartney Story" is on the love between Linda and Paul and once you accept that this is really a love story it becomes good.
Now it is very easy to be turned off by "The Linda McCartney Story" very quickly as the first few scenes split between 1995 and 1965 and we see various celebrity friends. The issue really comes from back in 1965 when Linda first meets The Rolling Stones, in particular Mick Jagger, and then Jim Morrison of The Doors as unfortunately the impersonations of Jagger and Morrison are not good. It doesn't bode well and you have this ominous feeling that this made for TV movie is going to struggle because of actors playing recognizable celebs and not being anything like them. The good news is that Gary Bakewell is cast as Paul and having already played the McCartney in "Backbeat" is still convincing.
Anyway get past this shaky opening and "The Linda McCartney Story" takes us on a journey through Linda & Paul's lives together. Now I am no expert so I don't know how accurate this is but it is potted with recognizable elements, the turbulence between John and Paul when Yoko arrived on the scene, his struggle with depression when The Beatles finished and his drug bust when Paul landed in Tokyo to start the Wings world tour. It means that whilst there has been some poetic licence involved it still manages to draw on enough fact to make this journey through Linda and Paul's lives together feel reasonably true.
But as I said the real focus of "The Linda McCartney Story" is on the relationship between Linda and Paul and the love they had for each other comes across. This is done not only with the dramatization of the past as they fall in love but also Linda's battle with cancer during the 90s. The thing is that it is very much a potted account of their relationship, just pivotal moments but it works because every one of these scenes establishes the closeness they had even when things were tough.
Now I have already mentioned Gary Bakewell who is critical to why "The Linda McCartney Story" works, he not only looks like Paul but does a great job of imitating him. But Elizabeth Mitchell is just as good as Linda McCartney, she may not look exactly like her but she does this fantastic job of playing the character and in particular getting across the depth of love that Linda had for Paul. It is because both Mitchell and Bakewell commit to bringing the love story to life that you end up forgiving some less than good casting such as Canadian Matthew Harrison doing Mick Jagger. And the good thing is that most of the bad casting choices come early on so get past them and "The Linda McCartney Story" gets better.
What this all boils down to is that "The Linda McCartney Story" is actually not a bad movie considering it is another made for TV biopic. It still has issues such as some poor casting but with the emphasis being on the relationship between Linda and Paul it does a good job of getting across the love they had for each other.