WHAM! (2023) Netflix Movie Review – A nostalgic trip down memory lane

A nostalgic trip down memory lane

Wham burst onto the pop scene back in 1982, going on to sell more than 30 million records worldwide, and smashing the charts with numerous number 1 hit singles. Their records are still played to this day, with “Last Christmas” reaching the UK number 1 spot back in 2020.

But how did it all begin for this pop duo? What was the inspiration behind these different songs? Netflix’s latest documentary film is a pleasant and nostalgic celebration of the duo, aiming to answer these questions and more. The film starts with a look at the group’s inception, cycling through the influences for different singles, and eventually ending with Wham’s farewell concert in Wembley.

Along the way, the film stitches together older archived footage of Michael and Andrew, where the pair immediately hit it off after being paired up at Bushey Mead school. At the age of 18, the pair set out to take the music world by storm, but of course it wasn’t as easy as they first hoped.

Aesthetically, WHAM! does a great job of keeping things looking stylish and leaning into the feel of the 80’s era. Scrapbooks are used to cycle through in chronological order the various highlights and significant moments of the band’s career, while there’s predictably a lot of musical montages too, showcasing the head-bopping, toe-tapping power of each record.

What’s particularly interesting here though is learning the influences and commentary from the pair about their hit singles. From a message scrawled on a bedroom door leading to a monster hit, to Andrew and George bringing all their friends to the snowy peaks to get drunk and film a music video, these moments are definite highlights.

There’s also a welcome examination of George Michael’s sexuality too. Seeing him put on this exuberant and exaggerated persona on stage, while being shy, vulnerable and conflicted about whether to come out as gay to the public or not adds a lot of gravitas and heart to this film.

Of course, super-fans of Wham! will already know a lot of the details in this film. This is more of a nostalgic trip down memory lane than a revealing expose packed full of hidden details and never-before-seen drama. However, it’s still a fun ride all the same.

At a run-time of 90 minutes, WHAM! tells its story without missing a beat, managing to stay harmonically on topic throughout its enjoyable run. If you fancy taking a trip down memory lane, this one’s well worth a watch.

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  • Verdict - 7.5/10

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