Pure joy for Beatles fans, Ryan White’s Good Ol' Freda introduces us to a woman who had a ringside seat for Beatlemania and, until now, has never spoken about it.

Freda Kelly was a teenage typist in Liverpool when co-workers took her to the Cavern Club. She went on to see the nascent Beatles, by her count, around 190 times. So it was no surprise that Brian Epstein hired this plain-faced girl with the lovely smile to be their secretary. In hounding the four men to sign autographs and answer fans’ questions, she became almost literally part of the family.

Backstage rock stories are a dime a dozen, but they’re usually well-rehearsed anecdotes told by hangers-on. Kelly, on the other hand, hasn’t told these stories even to her family. Many of the stories are clearly coming to her as the camera rolls.

White has parlayed Kelly’s involvement into a very rare license to use a few Beatles songs in the film. But audio cues are unnecessary given the spark in Freda’s eyes as she conjures the personalities of four young men whose stardom she enabled.

John DeFore
The Hollywood Reporter

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