Across the Universe

I swear I saw a preview for Across the Universe years and years ago. Obviously I’m hallucinating… but that’s not the point. We rented it last night and were both left with the feeling that we need to see it about six more times for it to really make sense.On the surface, it’s a typical romance movie… It’s the 1960s, Liverpudlian boy comes to America to find his ex-GI father, befriends a spoiled Princeton undergrad, falls in love with said undergrad’s sister, they all move to NYC, the sister gets involved in the anti-war movement, they break up, Liverpudlian boy gets deported, but then eventually comes back and they presumably live happily ever after.

Now name the three main characters Jude, Lucy, and Max. Additional characters included Prudence, Jo Jo, and Sadie. (I would have given them major props if they’d worked in Vera, Chuck, and Dave, but they didn’t.) And make the whole thing set to some REALLY INTERESTING remakes of Beatles music. We immediately wondered how they managed to get the rights to all the songs, but we are definitely NOT objecting. It’s clear how much the movie owes to Moulin Rouge, but at the same time… the songs are much less literal interpretations (Eddie Izzard’s “For the Benefit of Mr. Kite” and Bono’s “I Am the Walrus” were awesome). Sometimes the transitions to song were a bit … awkward, but other numbers were downright eerie. In particular, the draft board number, set to “I want you”… that gave me chills.

There were definitely moments, the end of the “I want you” sequence in particular, where it was clear that the war they were addressing was NOT Vietnam.  Other parts were completely absurd – their soujourn with Dr. Robert and the trip to see “Dr. Geary” was the most … bizarre.  Though you could hardly argue with Eddie Izzard backed up by a bunch of proto-Blue Meanies.

All in all, definitely recommended.  But I have to see it several more times before I’m completely sure what I think of it.

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