Review: Monty Python: The Meaning of Live

By: Kyle Wooldridge

Monty Python: The Meaning of Live, directed by Roger Graef and James Rogan, was a documentary following the members of the British comedy group Monty Python as they reunited for the first time in decades for one last live stage show. The members, John Cleese, Eric Idle, Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones, and Michael Palin, give us their perspective from the group’s early success in the 1960’s and 1970s, all the way to their final show in 2014.

For a fan of Monty Python, like myself, the film was a blast. It was filled with clips of sketches from their old TV show, other live performances, and the reunion performance from 2014. The nostalgic value alone was enough to make this film enjoyable for anyone familiar with their work. The members also provided some intriguing insight into the relationships within the group. One would think that they were all the best of friends all along, but some of the time it felt as though they merely tolerated each other. That didn’t stop them from laughing and poking fun at one another throughout the process. Watching how hilarious these guys are in their everyday lives and not just while performing was the highlight of this movie.

As much fun as I personally had with this movie, I could see someone with little knowledge of the group finding the film uninteresting. Since many of the things they talked about required some knowledge of specific sketches from their TV show, the topics could go over the heads of some audience members. While I’m not sure why someone would watch a document on Monty Python without any knowledge of Monty Python, it is a potential issue with the film. One issue I did have with the documentary was the layout of it. The film started out with them talking about their present day work before it jumped back to their early success. It would then jump around randomly through their timeline and sometimes it got slightly confusing. While this was a relatively minor issue, it was enough to irritate me during parts of it.

Overall, this documentary was both insightful and hilarious. I would highly recommend it to any Monty Python fan and even some people who are somewhat familiar with the group.

Rating: 4/5