Film Review: “The Lost Weekend: A Love Story” – When John and Yoko Briefly Became John and May

By Ed Symkus

A new documentary about the John Lennon and May Pang affair is insightful but not exactly unbiased.

The Lost Weekend: A Love Story, directed by Eve Brandstein, Richard Kaufman, and Stuart Samuels. It’s screening at Boston Common 19 and the Kendall Square Cinema.

John Lennon and May Pang in a footage from The Lost Weekend: A Love Story.

Almost six decades ago, the Beatles conquered America, and caused a seismic shift in pop culture the world over. In all probability, unless a long-lost cache of unreleased recordings shows up, we’ve heard all of the songs they completed. But there are, without a doubt, stories aplenty about the band, its separate members, and outsiders who were privy to their inner circle still to tell. In the early-to-mid-1970s, May Pang was a significant character in the third category.

The narration at the start of The Lost Weekend: A Love Story states casually, “John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in 1969. They remained virtually inseparable, with one major exception.”

That exception involved Lennon moving out of his home in late 1973 and, over an 18-month period, living with May Pang who, 10 years his junior, was at the time the personal assistant to Lennon and Ono.

In the first taste of a great deal of archival footage, Pang, appearing on a long-ago Good Morning America broadcast, says that, because of the false reports, she wants to straighten out the history of what happened. Moments later, her voice introduces herself and the film: “My name is May Pang, and this is my story.”

And it is her story, told in full-blown subjectivity, solely from her point of view.

Among the film’s major strengths are the plentiful supply of archival footage and photos; the frantic pace that’s maintained; and the chatty, informative demeanor taken on by Pang, whose off-screen narration is a constant from beginning to end.

What might be its major weakness is the lack of objectivity, the suggestion of other perspectives. Over the year-and-a-half of their relationship, Pang and Lennon were pretty much as inseparable as Lennon and Ono had been before (and after) it, shacking up together in the British countryside west of London, in New York, and in L.A. But all these years later, with Lennon long gone, we only get her side of what went down.

The film’s early sections offer up biographical info. Pang’s parents left China to follow the American dream, and she was raised in New York’s Spanish Harlem. “Dad was an atheist and mom was a Buddhist. So, naturally, they sent me to Catholic school. Dad fought with mom, and I fought with the nuns,” she says, showing off her droll wit.

She was an ardent fan of pop and rock and, having been born in 1950, was at just the right age to be bowled over by the Beatles leading the British invasion. When she was 19, and a college dropout, Pang interviewed for a job at ABKCO Records, the New York company that managed the Beatles Apple Corps in London, and scored a gig typing, filing, and answering phones.

After that point we are treated to a barrage of clips — including TV newscasts, home movies, and promotional videos — that cover the distressing last days of the Fab Four, Lennon and Ono’s 1971 arrival in New York to make the short experimental films Up Your Legs Forever and Fly, and Pang’s right time-right place assignment by Apple to be their sort of “girl Friday,” which led soon after to Lennon and Ono asking her to move to their English estate and become their full-time assistant.

The film is breezy and fun until it gets to the point where Pang reveals Ono’s penchant for manipulating everyone and everything around her. Of central importance here — again, this is Pang’s version — is the tale of Ono discovering that Lennon was cheating on her, then making the decision that since he wouldn’t change, Ono could make sure that he cheated with only one woman — someone she could control: Pang.

Pang refused, but Ono was her boss, and she demanded it.

The fling, which apparently was supposed to last one weekend, was, according to footage and photos and Pang’s memories, a time of great happiness and deep love for the couple, though it was also fraught with challenges, mostly due to Lennon’s out-of-control behavior when they were living in L.A. It lasted, in Pang’s telling, until Ono said to her, “It’s time for me to take John back.”

The film provides a fascinating glimpse into a momentous period in the lives of some celebrated individuals. But a fundamental question remains: Is it accurate? Only May Pang, who comes across as extremely sincere, knows.

Ed Symkus is a Boston native and Emerson College graduate. Among his accomplishments: He went to Woodstock, interviewed Edward Gorey, Ray Bradbury, Ted Nugent, and Kathryn Bigelow, and has visited the Outer Hebrides, the Lofoten Islands, Anglesey, Mykonos, the Azores, Catalina, Kangaroo Island, and the Isle of Capri with his wife Lisa.


  1. Kenneth Crocker on April 13, 2023 at 2:39 pm

    MP had two jobs at separate times. Hired by YO first to be a sort of a secretary, errand girl. Secondly, employed, ordered, and paid to be JL’s F**k Buddy by YO — until she thought it was time for reconciliation. She was fired by YO and I’m sure MP has and carried a lot feelings of resentment toward YO.

    The love it would seem was a one way street or maybe MP was just infatuated being with a famous rock star. Furthermore, I have Never heard or seen anything written by JL mentioning MP, so I doubt very much she meant that much to him, his thoughts and love were truly with YO. Fred Seaman was later hired by the Lennon’s to be JL’s errand boy until JL’s murder. He was hired because of the silly notion that his name matched JL’s father’s first name Fred and his occupation being a Seaman. He stole JL’s journals before he got fired and YO took him to court to get back the journals. He wrote a book before trial which cast a very negative light on YO. He was ordered by the court to relinquish the journals to YO and given a gag order to never discuss his time of employment with the Lennon’s ever again.

    • StandWithMe on April 14, 2023 at 7:29 pm

      Let’s not forget that YO got a prestigious attorney to forge Fred Seaman’s signature(s) on several Non-Disclosure Agreements (NDA) and perjure himself on the stand to boot. There were no NDA’s that any of the Lennon household staff had to sign back in 1978/79, thus they were forged.

      Yes, Fred exercised poor judgement when he took JL’s journals because JL had begged him while on his sailing trip to Bermuda (JL was lucky to have successfully sailed through the Bermuda triangle as advised by YO) to give them to his son Julian so he would have some idea of what he had gone through (and presumably help explain why he was an absentee father). Getting back to MP’s saga.

      YO has rammed herself down Beatles fans throats since after John came back from the ill fated 1968 India Rishikesh retreat. Since spring 1968, many of us Beatles fans can’t stand her seeing her or listening to her, this can not be denied. We’re not biased, we simply can’t stand her despite her being polite in public.

      If MP had not had spent 18 months with John, there would have been a diminished version of JL and he certainly wouldn’t have been able to produce the music and albums that he did because MP gave him the freedom to be himself. YO forced JL to become an extension of herself, thus, he parted his hair in the middle to mirror YO’s hair.

      YO used all kinds of tricks and drugs to keep John in line and to get him to obey her. Thus the main reason she called 10 to 25 times a day, everyday, was to make sure he continued to obey her. What ‘tricks’ and drugs she used will not be revealed for many years as I personally believe she was empowered by professional ABC type off the book gov agencies to become the ultimate honeytrap and she got everything in the end. Poor Julian had to spend nearly 15 years in court to get a small inheritance settlement of $25m whereas Sean got $200m and YO got $800m .

      The documentary is amazing in that MP doesn’t say more about YO’s dark side which is leading her to a date with the Prince of Darkness who is waiting for her.

      • Rob Befumo on April 16, 2023 at 9:03 pm

        I agree with you completely. I have always noticed that John’s expression more often than not was hard and angry when with /yoko, but during the so-called lost weekend there are abundant photos of him genuinely smiling. Also, the material he wrote on the /walls and Bridges album is among the best of his solo career, and most would have fit nicely on a Beatles album, despite the sometimes heavy production.

    • Gary Lee on April 16, 2023 at 4:40 pm

      To be fair, the Yoko reconciliation was just before John’s 5 years of exile from interviews so he was unable to mention May Pang publicly.

  2. John Heaton on April 14, 2023 at 7:17 am

    Shacking up in the British countryside west of London? Unlikely seeing as their affair started in ‘73 two years after Lennon left England

  3. Diane Attanasio on April 16, 2023 at 3:28 am

    I saw this film, and I highly recommend it as a must-see for any adult Beatles fan, particularly for those wishing to know more about this part of John Lennon’s life, and the role that May Pang had in it. I had heard bits and pieces of it, but this lays out her entire story and puts it in perspective.

    As for the film critic’s complaint that it’s not objective: it doesn’t need to be, nor is that the point. May Pang states quite bluntly in the film that this is her story, and that she wants to tell it, rather than let others tell it for her. I know she’s already told her story in book form, but to see it done on film is amazing. So I think this is important, for historical purposes., especially because Ms. Pang possibly may feel that her role in John’s life has been overlooked, downplayed, or misrepresented. Therefore this is her chance to provide her own perspective. I appreciate that she is sharing her story with the world.

    • Marie on May 9, 2023 at 4:33 pm


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