Note: My mom is a big fan of The Beatles, so she kind of helped me understand this film. This blog is to recommend films to people, but this one is hard. It really depends. There are many things to consider. If you are a Beatles fan, you may love how creative this film was, or you may hate it for butchering the classic songs with new performances and new interpretation. You may also not enjoy it for its portrayal of the Vietnam War, radicalism, and drugs. If you are a Liberal, you might enjoy it. If you are a Conservative, you may think otherwise of this film.
Across the Universe is a film by Julie Taymor, who previously directed the Broadway hit The Lion King. The film is a compilation of Beatles songs. The story is intertwined with songs. Jude (Jim Sturgess) is on his way from Liverpool to America to find his father. If that makes you cringe, just wait, every character in this has a name from a Beatles song. He meets Max, who then become best friends. He invites Jude to dinner and meets his sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). Max drops out of college and go to NYC. They stay in an apartment, who’s landlord is named Sadie (Dana Fuchs). She’s a singer. The Vietnam War is raging and Max gets drafted, and he looks at Uncle Sam. He stars singing I want you… and grabs Max. Lucy starts working for a radical pamphlet. Jude and Lucy’s relationship goes on the rocks, but then she discovers “All You Need is Love”.
The film is overall well done. The new renditions are very good. Sexy Sadie’s voice reminds me of Janis Joplin. Though some of the songs included in the film feel as if they have been just thrown in there to complete the Beatles’ circle, with no real purpose to the storyline. Jim has a very good voice, and Evan has a really good voice. The most spine-tingling song is sadly the least needed in the film. The cast’s rendition of “Because” is haunting. Bono makes a cameo singing “I Am the Walrus” (he plays Dr. Robert) and the “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” at the end credits. Other cameos are from Eddie Izzard (The Riches) who performs “Being the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and Joe Cocker who performs “Come Together”. The film is visually stunning and is great.