Film Column – Wham!

“EACH friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive, and it is only by this meeting that a new world is born.”

These words from French-born writer Anaïs Nin echo throughout Netflix’s new endearing Wham documentary like a prophetic fallacy.

This is so much more than the story of an 80s pop sensation that went onto conquer the world with hits like Club Tropicana, Wake Me Up Before You Go Go, and Last Christmas. At its very core, Chris Smith’s film is a heartwarming tale about the beautiful friendship shared between George Michael and Andrew Ridgeley.

Smith’s film gives us unprecedented access to both George and Andrew’s personal archives and includes previously unheard interviews, as well as footage that has never been seen before.

And if anything, it takes us behind the polished pop veneer, scratching well below the surface to give us an affecting glimpse of George’s human frailties, his unhappiness at having to conceal his true sexual identity, and how he struggled with an all-consuming pop star ego as he continually pushed Wham to new heights over their four years together.

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It is clear that Andrew has been much maligned in the annals of music history for the part he played in the chart-topping duo. A character often deemed lucky to have ridden on George Michael’s coattails, it is evident from their childhood years when they first started making music together that Ridgeley was actually the driving force.

Without his confidence and swagger, the voice of his school friend ‘Yog’, derived from George Michael’s Greek-Cypriot real name of Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou, would probably have been lost to the world forever.

George, who died on December 25, 2016, looked up to Andrew and valued his guidance and direction throughout their time together, all the way back to their school days. Smith opens our eyes to the fact that Wham were a true musical partnership, and Ridgeley, a man happy to bow out gracefully when the time came to let George Michael fly solo and become the artist he was born to be.

This is a wonderfully uplifting film about true friendship, more than anything else, and it is sure to fill your heart with joy and bring a couple of tears to the eye.