2007 - United States - 131 minutes
Director - Julie Taymor
Writers - Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais
My Rating - 5 of 5 Stars
I'm not sure whether the younger generation will appreciate Across the Universe as much as I. You see, I'm from the time that songs told a story, you could actually understand the words the singer was singing, and songs had a tune rather that just shouting to a boom-de-de-boom-boom rhythm. Across the Universe is a musical that actually began with the songs - all those of the Beatles. There are the standards that are familiar to anyone not living in a cave for the past forty years, but not being an avid Beatle fan, there were songs that were new to me.
All of this takes place in the Viet Nam War era. It certainly means a lot to me as I would have been the age of those young people in the movie. There is an extremely inventive segment in which young Max goes for his induction physical. That certainly brought back some memories for me - both haunting and humorous. The induction scene is witty and camp, and the director certainly zeroed in on all the indignities save one - the bend over and spread your cheeks part.
The story of the film is simple - yet beautiful and romantic. Young Jude is a steelworker in Liverpool who travels to the United States on a personal quest. He meets Max who has just dropped out of college. Max invites Jude to Thanksgiving dinner at his family's home where Jude meets Lucy, a high school senior and Max's sister.
Jude and Max go off to New York and find living quarters in The Village with a group of creative young people. In the meantime, Lucy's love who has gone off to Viet Nam is killed, and Lucy decides to spend the summer before college with her brother in The Village.
Needless-to-say, Lucy and Jude fall in love, and the two spend an idyllic time loving, drugging, and working - he as an artist and she as a protester of the war.
Max, as indicated previously, is drafted and is sent off to Viet Nam.
The lives of these three and all of their friends are shown to the audience through those wonderful Beatle songs, extraordinary choreography, and impressive video effects. This movie is a joy from beginning to an end that comes too soon.
One last personal note: "Something" is my favorite song, and there is a scene in Across the Universe in which Jude sings "Something" as he watches Lucy sleep and sketches her. Wow, did that bring back memories and stir my heartstrings! I hope that Across the Universe does the same for you.
February 11, 2008