Across the Universe (2007)



Grew up in the 70s, so never got the Beatles phenomenon, the invasion, the crazy teenagers, and all that. Still don’t. Strangely though I know most of their tunes and some lyrics, the beginning part anyway. Since I was living through all these events- Vietnam war, riots, protests, etc – in unintended development oblivion (I was too young), I could only take the film at face value, i.e., lack of emotional association. Having said that, for me, this is just a longer version of a pre-Glee musical.

A group of college aged kids live in New York. Jude (Jim Sturgess) from Liverpool goes to America looking for his father, Wes Huber(Robert Clohessy) in Princeton. He thinks he is a scholar, but he is only a maintenance staff. Jude meets Max Carrigan, a rich kid, who eventually drops out of college, and they travel to New York to start freedom.  Lucy Carrigan(Evan Rachel Wood), the sister, falls in love with Jude. In the apartment, there is the landlady, Sadie(Dana Fuchs), who is a singer, then Jo-Jo(Martin Luther) shows up, a guitarist. The last member is Prudence (T.V. Carpio), the outsider. Each of their appearances will be serenaded with a Beatles song, of course, some more familiar than others.

Towards the middle, director Julie Taymor brightens up the scenes with classic 60s psychedelic cinematography. I thought Dr. Robert was U2’s Bono, and it was. 

Then the hallucinatory colours turns solo red. The war has started. Lucy becomes revolutionary, Jude turns artistic, and Max drafted. What-else is there to say?! It’s just another war-torn love story disguised in something that might have meant more.

The war is over, Max returns with PTSD. Was that Salma Hayek, the Singing Nurse? yes, it was. More protests, more hurting, war veterans now watching riots and police brutality vs. civilians watching soldiers killed in Vietnam. The irony, I guess.

Of course, the inevitable climax is the all cast finale, with each belts out a melody in unison! CURTAIN. Thank you very much!

SKIP…but go ahead Beatles fans.


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