Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You
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S4 E7 – Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You (Lifetime Movie) – Lifetime Uncorked
Synopsis (via Lifetime)
“Olivia Newton-John: Hopelessly Devoted to You” is the remarkable personal and professional journey of international superstar Olivia Newton-John, illustrated through her music. Covering her lasting power across more than five decades in one of the world’s toughest industries, the film delves into both Olivia’s public persona as well as the private woman behind-the-scenes, including her multiple battles with cancer and her intense fight to survive.
1977 Paramount studios, Olivia Newton John is getting sewn into her Grease bad girl outfit and we see her recording “You’re the one that I want” scene. Delta Goodrem is a pretty good physical embodiment of Olivia Newton John. Plus, they are both Australian so that is cool!
Flash to a year later and John Travolta and ONJ are super famous. She asks John how they got here and he tells her that she is the only one who knows. They walk through a door and we are cut to 1965 in Melbourne where high school ONJ is dancing is a school uniform. She is picked up by her mother who doesn’t think singing is a career and casually mentions that she is divorced. (Love that exposition!)
ONJ performs on a TV singing competition called “Sing, Sing, Sing.” and she is VERY nervous but there is no reason to be. She wins the contest and gets to record a single in London. When she gets to the studio ONJ wants to record an original not a cover and the record producer is like, “Sure, lady. Whatever. ” The single comes out and it gets negatives reviews. The producers tells her that they won’t be signing her.
ONJ’s friend, Pat, moves from Australia and they start a band together, I think? They basically go to parties dressed super mod. ONJ meets a famous musician named Bruce Welch. They have a spark and get engaged. Bruce hires ONJ a manager name Peter. She starts working on an album with her fiance.
1971- ONJ is recording some country songs. The song is a moderate success and ONJ goes on tour. Bruce seems very controlling and ONJ has had it. She tells him that she wants to make her own life and break up. The break up sparks inspiration and she hit number one with “I Honestly Love You”.
1973, ONJ is all grown up and playing concerts in Nashville, she has become an very famous musician. She is still friends with Pat and thy talk about their dreams. Surprisingly,, ONJ just wants a normal life with a house, dog, a horse, and someone to share it with. While on the beach she meets a man named Lee. The man wants to move with her to the states and manage her career.
In Los Angeles, a very flamboyant Filmmaker, asks her to play Sandy in Grease and ONJ asks for a screen test.(Because she is insecure about her acting abilities.) The screen test goes well and John Travolta makes her very comfortable on set. The filmmaker makes accommodations to ensure she is on board with the film. (He promises it will retool her image and make the character Australian so she doesn’t have to do an accent.) Lee isn’t happy about it because he wants ONJ to get more money for the project. She asks him if he could only be her manager or lover, which would he choose. He picks manager and then he is out of her LIFE!
FINALLY things are getting more Lifetimey. ONJ gets a stalker (A redheaded bearded man.) He sends her a crazy cut out serial killer letter and sends it to her.
Next is Xanadu. ONJ is in rehearsals for the movie and she meets a backup dancer named Matt on set. The movie get terrible reviews, but the album is a hit. ONJ and Matt are an item now.
ONJ gets Tina Turner hand-me-downs and we get a remake of the “Physical” video. The song is a hit and goes to number one. ONJ has short hair and wears tennis outfits a lot. (It is 1983.) Matt proposes backstage and she turns him down, because they are happy the way they are.
The stalker guy is still cutting out her pictures and being sketchy. He has been trying to break into ONJ’s house and the police learn how deranged he is. The man killed his family and is after ONJ. She is put in hiding and goes back to live with her mother, which isn’t really hiding. The stalker gets arrested for shoplifting and ONJ is safe. (Olivia Newton John has actually had two stalkers: Louisiana-based Michael Owen Perry, as well as Wisconsin-born Ralph Nau.)
1988- ONJ is now married to Matt and she is still friends Pat. They both have daughters now. Pat’s daughter is sick with cancer and dies. ONJ’s daughter makes her promise to not get cancer, which is foreshadowing what is to come. While getting up from her piano, ONJ feels a lump in her breast. The doctor tells her it is benin, but her female intuition is telling her otherwise. She demands a biopsy from the patronizing doctor.
A non- lifetime sex scene happens (which is just ONJ and Matt kissing in a white bed.) She is about to go back on the road, but her plans are cut short when they get a call that her dad has passed away and then another call that she has breast cancer. The terrible doctor tells ONJ that she can’t attend her father’s funeral because she needs to start treatment right away.
ONJ starts treatment and keeps it a secret from her daughter. The daughter, of course, finds out from one of her classmates. (Also, can we talk about why the daughter has a crazy Australian accent?) ONJ’s daughter tells her that she would have taken care of her and she should have told her. (It was a touching moment.) Matt is also an actor and he is jealous that can’t find the same success. He tells ONJ that she is too perfect for him. (He tells her she even did cancer right, which is a really rude thing to day.) They get a divorce and ONJ becomes a breast cancer advocate.
ONJ then meets a photographer names Patrick. He woos her with flowers and pizza. They date for four years until Patrick tells ONJ that he needs some space. He can’t handel her lifestyle. ONJ tells him he barely made it 4 year, she has been living it her whole life.
In 2005, Patrick goes missing from a fishing boat and is presumed dead. ONJ feels responsible and is hounded by the paparazzi, she wishes she could turn the media around to her own advantage. (The movie doesn’t follow up on the story but apparently he is still missing?)
ONJ sings “I Honestly Love You” again while we see clips of the movies we just watched. Which is maybe my least favorite trope of Lifetime Movies… Like, we JUST WATCHED THIS. We also have heard this song three times at this point.
Minority Report: Patrick, the boyfriend and I think I saw one POC in the concert seen in Nashville?
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*Photo Credit: © 2019 Lifetime
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