An upper-class American girl falls in love with an artist from
Liverpool just as the Vietnam War tears apart their lives.
Across the Universe (2007)
Directed by Julie Taymor
Written by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
Starring Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood, Joe Anderson,
Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther, T.V. Carpio, Robert Clohessy,
Bono, Joe Cocker, Eddie Izzard
Oscar Nominations - Best Costume Design
I suppose I should preface this review by pointing out that I am a massive Beatles fan. Being such a fan, I enjoyed this film far more than any traditional moviegoer probably would. Still, odds are you'd only seek this film out if you're a Beatles fan, so keep that in mind. Across the Universe is a stunning film that utilizes the music of the Fab Four in an ingeniously creative way. The cast and crew use Beatles songs to bridge the narrative gap and provide context for the film's story, which isn't amazing but still engaging. I can't help but think that a film like this is the perfect way to showcase the increasingly anti-establishment and pro-peace messages that came out of the Beatles' music in the late 60's. This film embraces that message and introduces a new generation to the same ideals.
The cast is decent enough, though I've never been a fan of Evan Rachel Wood. In the end though, the real stars are the musical numbers. Hell, in this movie we get to hear Bono sing "I Am the Walrus," Joe Cocker sing "Come Together," and Eddie Izzard sing "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite." That alone earns this film big-time props in my book. While some of the actors lose points in their speaking performances, they redeem themselves with their singing talents. It's neat to hear all of the classics in an entirely different context that still feels like a piece of Beatles history.
Despite the bumpy story issues and a few wooden performances, I really enjoyed Across the Universe. It's the ultimate musical extravaganza for lifelong Beatles fans who've always wanted another Hard Day's Night. I think that even casual film fans will enjoy it, as it has a goodhearted message about love and happiness that actually feels genuine. I want more people to see it, as it deserves to be seen.