I am genuinely confused.

Say you were one of the most-famous entertainers on the planet in the last 50 years or so, and since young adulthood your every move has been documented, collected, and discussed. Then say you leave the planet, but your family enlists the help of one of the finest film directors of the last 50 years or so to tell your life story in a multi-part, beautifully-shot, 208-minute documentary.

So how can it be that at 208:01 mark viewers walk away with knowing little more about George Harrison than they did before? Martin Scorsese has made a curious film in “George Harrison: Living In The Material World.” It’s pretty, but leaves fans at a distance. The Quiet Beatle, oddly, remains a mystery to us, which makes me further wonder if he wasn’t a mystery to his family, friends, and self as well, in the end.

Harrison’s story is told through new interviews with the major figures in his life, including wife Olivia and ex-wife Patti Boyd, son Dhani, fellow ex-Beatles Ringo Starr and Paul McCartney, and many famous friends such as Eric Clapton, Eric Idle, and Jackie Stewart. John Lennon and Harrison himself appear in interviews recorded before their deaths. The film begins with Harrison’s modest upbringing in Liverpool during post-WWII and quickly brings us up to his days with the Beatles, which as expected takes the biggest chunk of the run time. The crucial swing point of the movie is when Harrison, overwhelmed by his enormous worldwide fame, begins to experiment with LSD in search of meaning and higher consciousness, and then rejects chemical enlightenment for deep studies of Eastern spirituality. This devotion to spiritual development and mysticism defined the rest of his life.

Any regular old fan, not even particularly a Beatles fan, knows all this already. It’s been part of the story of rock‘n roll for decades now – the sitar on “Norwegian Wood” and “Within You Without You,” the trips to India, the truncated-by-manager-death guru meet-up in Wales, Hare Krishna Hare Rama, “My Sweet Lord” in courtroom drama. But we don’t really get any deep understanding of just why Harrison chose this particular path, other than it seemed to numb or distract him from worldly things that were difficult to deal with. Spirituality was his answer in finding meaning in life and peace in death, but what was it in him that made him take that path rather than something else, and take it so devotedly? That is never answered in a satisfying way.

We hear hints of confusion from Harrison’s friends, bandmates, and family, and we are left to infer that he was both the most devoted friend and an unfaithful husband, often patient and kind, yet on a dime short-tempered and bitter. When Harrison states that his only reason to stick around on Earth would be to parent his son, it feels like a burn to all the people who cared for him, especially his wife. This duality – the love for mankind and good in the world, while showing at times great callousness towards others – needed to be explored more honestly. You got the feeling that everyone was holding back, in respect for a dead man’s legacy, for that they still loved him, no matter what.

There is an overall chill to this film, a hollowness that is so disappointing considering that George Harrison is truly beloved by millions all over the world. We want to celebrate him, we want to know him, and “Living In The Material World” doesn’t really allow it. We aren’t really ever shown how or why he did what he did, how he created the music he made, or how he felt about what he did. We want to think that his spiritual beliefs were his answer, yet shake our heads when hearing that Harrison’s first response to a violent intruder into his home was to shout chants at him.

Over close to 50 years now, I’ve watched so many, many films, interviews, documentaries, anything featuring any of the Beatles, and something I’ve noticed that has troubled me for a long time I saw again in this effort. It breaks my heart to compare interviews with any of the four Beatles from their earliest days with anything later, for you see such a distinct change in each one of them. It is a hardening, a wariness, a door closed off that used to be wide open, a look to the eyes, a set of the shoulders. It is trust long gone and joy once seen, dulled. It is the cost of being the four most-famous young men in all the world, who brought immeasurable happiness to others and will continue to do so for generations into the future, the price of having everything yet still not being able to understand why. With Harrison and Lennon gone and Starr and McCartney unwilling or unable to reveal anything more of themselves to a still-insatiable public, how it really was to be a Beatle -- and then not be a Beatle -- may never be known to any of us.

In the entire 208 minutes, there was but one moment that burst through to me, a second of reality that I’ll hold onto in honoring George Harrison’s life. It came near the end of the film, in a story told by Ringo Starr. He had traveled to see Harrison, who was nearing the end of his life, suffering from cancer. At the end of their visit, Starr mentioned that he had to go to be with his daughter, who was also very ill with a brain tumor. Tears come to Starr’s eyes when he recalls that Harrison then said, “Do you want me to come with you?” It is a stunningly sad, yet beautiful moment.

“George Harrison: Living In The Material World” ends up frustrating us for all the things not said, and not fully understood about him. Leave it to Ringo to lift the veil, even if only for a second.