(In the spirit of a blog-post-a-day, I am going to start Movie Mondays. One, because it sounds alliterative and nice to hear ‘Movie Mondays’ and, two, because I like movies. There are a few movies that I have watched on repeat at certain times in my life. These are the movies I want to share and that I must insist you watch, immediately.)
Across the Universe
Released: September 14, 2007
My sophomore year as an undergrad I watched the movie Across the Universe, every night, for two months straight. That’s like 60 times in a row, guys. (You can ask my roommates if you don’t believe me.) I also
sang like an idiot to rocked out to the soundtrack every time I drove my car. It sounds strange to me now when I hear the original songs.
I’m not sure exactly what possessed me to watch this particular movie so many times (I’m lying, it was Jim Sturgess). One of my roommates at the time loved the movie and lent me her copy and that, as they say, is where it all began.
Across the Universe got a sad 53% rating on Rotten Tomatoes and that fact shocks me. According to Rotten Tomatoes critics, “Psychedelic musical numbers can’t mask Across the Universe’s clichéd love story and uninteresting characters.”
Let me explain 4 reasons why I love this movie.
1. The Actors
Not only Jim Sturgess (except, yes, Jim Sturgess), but all the actors in this movie are incredible. I watched the director’s cut (shocking!) and found out that these people are actually singing live. LIVE! They didn’t pre-record the songs and then auto-tune them and then fix them. They sang live in front of the camera and then that is what you see in the film. One thing I appreciated about the actors in Across the Universe is that they were all relatively unknown to me at the time. So, now, any role that Jim Sturgess plays (there are other actors, in the movie, I swear) I always picture him as Jude. Evan Rachel Wood, who plays Lucy, is phenomenal in her transformation from a high-schooler planning her wedding to mourning her boyfriend who is killed in action to a Vietnam war protester who drops acid. I’m pretty sure her script had lines in it that said – transforms seamlessly into another version of Lucy.
2. The 60’s
The 60’s have always interested me. So much was happening in terms of civil rights and social liberties. People really stood for something and fought for what they believed in. This comes across loud and clear in the movie. The ‘Let it Be” sequence loudly speaks of this as it is set to a backdrop of the Detroit riot. I have always felt that things should be fair, if they can be. It’s a bit of a running joke in my family that I so strongly want everyone to be treated the same and receive fair treatment. I would have been dangerous in the 60’s. I’m so impressed at all the people who never gave up on themselves or their rights or their beliefs and fought the good fight. I like to see it on the screen, and I like it in Across the Universe.
3. I Want to Hold Your Hand
Like most (but, sadly not all) millennials I have no problem with gay marriage. I don’t feel I have any right (or anyone has the right) to tell someone they cannot marry another consenting adult. If my two neighbors are men and they get married it affects me.. let’s see.. not at all. In 2007, gay rights were not in the forefront of our social policy scene as they are now. The movie features Prudence, a woman, singing that she wants to hold the hand of, wait for it, another woman! I remember first watching this and being shocked that Prudence liked other women! But I appreciated the scene in the movie. The movie is about being yourself, and not losing yourself to societal restrictions or judgements. And Prudence is herself. And it’s lovely. (Incidentally, it’s also the song on the soundtrack that I would sing and think… I’m so talented! I’m not.)
4. The Singing
I’ll admit, all these things tie together. And they ultimately lead to my most favorite part of Across the Universe – the music. I’m not a super-fan of musicals by any means. This movie, though, ties the songs (all Beatles songs! that match thematically!! GENIUS!) together with the script seamlessly. Joe Anderson, who plays Max Carrigan, says that he was not a singer in any sense of the word before this movie. I didn’t even know Evan Rachel Wood could sing. The singing, if nothing else, will impress you. Trust me.
I mean, watch this, and tell me you don’t want to see this movie. Come on.
I’m not a movie critic and I can’t definitively say why I repeat-watched Across the Universe. But if you haven’t seen it, do yourself a favor and watch it. Then let me know what you think.
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