Across the Universe (12A)

Film

Musicals

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Time Out rating:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>1</span>/5

User ratings:

<strong>Rating: </strong><span class='lf-avgRating'>4</span>/5
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Time Out says

Mon Sep 24 2007

Quite a trip this new musical from celebrated Broadway director Julie ‘The Lion King’ Taymor, and of the sort you might experience if you locked yourself in a room, mixed LSD with domestic bleach and put your entire Beatles collection on shuffle on your iPod while two televisions simultaneously played Milos Forman’s ‘Hair’ and some old episodes of ‘Bread’. What Taymor has done, along with former ‘Porridge’ writers Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, is take a bunch of Beatles songs and spin a narrative around them which is set in Liverpool and the US in the late ’60s and which takes its prompts from those same songs’ lyrics, characters and themes. The result is a weird, loud and colourful mix of the literal and the lateral that is often so embarrassing to watch that you’ll be checking over your shoulder to check that no one’s looking.

Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a good-looking Liverpool lad who’s bored of his job in the docks and hops on the boat to America, where he hooks up with Princeton drop-out Max (Joe Anderson) and falls for Max’s sister, Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). This being 1968, the wind of change soon blows over them all and Max is sent to Vietnam, Jude struggles as a painter in Greenwich Village and Lucy joins a protest group that morphs into the Weather Underground. Again and again, spirited singing bursts out of banal dramatic sequences, and you’ll be chewing your fist at the dialogue: ‘Where did she come from?’ ‘She came in through the bathroom window?’ God help us. Taymor has mistaken a deeply clichéd view of the late ’60s for a radical slice of the zeitgeist. Let it be.

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Release details

Rated:

12A

UK release:

Fri Sep 28, 2007

Duration:

131 mins

Cinemas showing Across the Universe

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The CLF Art Cafe

133, Rye Lane, London, SE15 4ST Show map/details

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    The CLF Art Cafe Rye Lane
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    • 20:30

Peckham Film Club

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LiveReviews|30
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MCKayla

I wasn't alive during this period in America's history, but I do know that this is a great movie. I don't think this movie was supposed to show everyone's experience during that time period, if it had it probably wouldn't have been the exciting and colorful film it was. But I do think that it showed bits and peices of peoples' experiences during the time. I thought that this movie was one of the best and most original(yes, I know the songs aren't original) movies in a long time. I think it was really well made and I loved how they took songs that were made 40 years ago and made them fit this plot perfectly. I think the actors were very talented and the script was well crafted. I like how they put their own spin on Beatles songs. Yes. they might not fit your interpretation of the songs but they don't have to. That's the purpose of art, for you to take your own meaning out of it. I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think that if you didn't enjoy it you might have been looking for more than the movie was made to offer. I recommend any Beatles fan and anyone looking for a great, original movie to watch this.

MCKayla

I wasn't alive during this period in America's history, but I do know that this is a great movie. I don't think this movie was supposed to show everyone's experience during that time period, if it had it probably wouldn't have been the exciting and colorful film it was. But I do think that it showed bits and peices of peoples' experiences during the time. I thought that this movie was one of the best and most original(yes, I know the songs aren't original) movies in a long time. I think it was really well made and I loved how they took songs that were made 40 years ago and made them fit this plot perfectly. I think the actors were very talented and the script was well crafted. I like how they put their own spin on Beatles songs. Yes. they might not fit your interpretation of the songs but they don't have to. That's the purpose of art, for you to take your own meaning out of it. I understand everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but I think that if you didn't enjoy it you might have been looking for more than the movie was made to offer. I recommend any Beatles fan and anyone looking for a great, original movie to watch this.

James

How old I wonder are the people claiming this to be an accurate representation of the zeitgeist of the late '60's? If you remember it ,they say,then you weren't there. Well.... I was there and I was of an age to remember (if not always totally focused on the bigger picture!) This movie is not there; Not remotely representative of the momentous events that shaped the world for decades to come. Vietnam is treated as an apocolypse now cinematic backdrop without any attempt to shuffle the glimpse into the ditch of meaning; The lyrical hymn to understanding,tolerance and patience 'Let it Be' is used as the soundtrack to a race riot and the comment on Chinas cultural revolution under Chairman Mao Tse Tung encapsulated in the track 'Revolution' is used as a powerful and distorted piece of propaganda against the anti-war movement. Again and again the spirit of the Beatles and the age they bestrode is traduced, betrayed and misinterpreted. The whole film is located in America for heavens sake! The quintessentially British contribution to Popular Music and an entire generation which looked to these shores for its musical inspiration gets played out in the colleges of Princeton,the streets of New York and the campus of Columbia University; No room for Penny Lane Eleanor Rigby or Lovely Rita. Liverpool only rates a mention at the Shipyard Gates and the Tenement Alleys; All is doom laden and grey and devoid of life or hope.In America however, there is life and colour and passion; Art and the vivid life of the imagination peopled with beautiful and interesting characters who have caught hold of Life by its coat-tails and are along for the ride of their lives. Oh please! Come on! What a piece of pure revisionist nonsense this movie is! Finally, as one who did witness these events at first hand, I have to deplore an attempt at historical paraphrase which prefers to cite the explosion of a home made bomb in Greenwich Village, only ever intended to be used for effect and not to kill or maim, to the monumental events at Kent State University in Ohio where four students attending an anti Vietnam demonstration were shot to death by National Guardsmen. This event reverberated around the world and along with courageous and explicit Journalism from Vietnam which showed the full horror of Americas policy in that God-forsaken corner of South East Asia,helped fill the minds of the free-thinking world with revulsion for this doomed military intervention. This director should be ashamed at her name appearing on this deeply flawed attempt at an evocation of some of the most pivotal years of post-war cultural and political history. Please Ms. Director, take this away and re-do attempting, along with correcting the aforementioned poilitical inaccuracy, to allow the wonderful Beatles songs to breathe and not shoe-horn them laboriously into a convoluted and unbelievable plot led by an unsympathetic scouser with about as much charm as one of the Gallagher brothers.

James

How old I wonder are the people claiming this to be an accurate representation of the zeitgeist of the late '60's? If you remember it ,they say,then you weren't there. Well.... I was there and I was of an age to remember (if not always totally focused on the bigger picture!) This movie is not there; Not remotely representative of the momentous events that shaped the world for decades to come. Vietnam is treated as an apocolypse now cinematic backdrop without any attempt to shuffle the glimpse into the ditch of meaning; The lyrical hymn to understanding,tolerance and patience 'Let it Be' is used as the soundtrack to a race riot and the comment on Chinas cultural revolution under Chairman Mao Tse Tung encapsulated in the track 'Revolution' is used as a powerful and distorted piece of propaganda against the anti-war movement. Again and again the spirit of the Beatles and the age they bestrode is traduced, betrayed and misinterpreted. The whole film is located in America for heavens sake! The quintessentially British contribution to Popular Music and an entire generation which looked to these shores for its musical inspiration gets played out in the colleges of Princeton,the streets of New York and the campus of Columbia University; No room for Penny Lane Eleanor Rigby or Lovely Rita. Liverpool only rates a mention at the Shipyard Gates and the Tenement Alleys; All is doom laden and grey and devoid of life or hope.In America however, there is life and colour and passion; Art and the vivid life of the imagination peopled with beautiful and interesting characters who have caught hold of Life by its coat-tails and are along for the ride of their lives. Oh please! Come on! What a piece of pure revisionist nonsense this movie is! Finally, as one who did witness these events at first hand, I have to deplore an attempt at historical paraphrase which prefers to cite the explosion of a home made bomb in Greenwich Village, only ever intended to be used for effect and not to kill or maim, to the monumental events at Kent State University in Ohio where four students attending an anti Vietnam demonstration were shot to death by National Guardsmen. This event reverberated around the world and along with courageous and explicit Journalism from Vietnam which showed the full horror of Americas policy in that God-forsaken corner of South East Asia,helped fill the minds of the free-thinking world with revulsion for this doomed military intervention. This director should be ashamed at her name appearing on this deeply flawed attempt at an evocation of some of the most pivotal years of post-war cultural and political history. Please Ms. Director, take this away and re-do attempting, along with correcting the aforementioned poilitical inaccuracy, to allow the wonderful Beatles songs to breathe and not shoe-horn them laboriously into a convoluted and unbelievable plot led by an unsympathetic scouser with about as much charm as one of the Gallagher brothers.

Sam

I thought it was an excellent film, with extraordinary vocalists. I guess it just wasn't the perfect cup of tea for all of us...

Sam

I thought it was an excellent film, with extraordinary vocalists. I guess it just wasn't the perfect cup of tea for all of us...

boo

a visually enchanting film with strong refrences to the beatles' own art work. It captures the general mood of the decade and is basically completely mad with it's characters' bursting into songs at every opportunity. Off the wall yet highly believable with some impressive acting that ensures that the film has depth. Historically accurate with some nice 60's touches thrown in, you can kind of forget all the surrealism going on around you and sink into the film's main plot- which, essentially, is a very simple love story. The bonkers aspect of the film is well blanced by the sublime musical score which thanks to the artists, could never be bad...Jim Sturgess as Jude is, well, a good enough reason to watch if you need one....a totally scruffy, roguish sex machine.

boo

a visually enchanting film with strong refrences to the beatles' own art work. It captures the general mood of the decade and is basically completely mad with it's characters' bursting into songs at every opportunity. Off the wall yet highly believable with some impressive acting that ensures that the film has depth. Historically accurate with some nice 60's touches thrown in, you can kind of forget all the surrealism going on around you and sink into the film's main plot- which, essentially, is a very simple love story. The bonkers aspect of the film is well blanced by the sublime musical score which thanks to the artists, could never be bad...Jim Sturgess as Jude is, well, a good enough reason to watch if you need one....a totally scruffy, roguish sex machine.

Rusty

What a gorgeous, well crafted and fun film. Sorry guys who panned it but think you are wrong on this one. Best film in ages.

Rusty

What a gorgeous, well crafted and fun film. Sorry guys who panned it but think you are wrong on this one. Best film in ages.

Linds

All who say this was horrible are seriously insane. This movie shows the harsh reality of drafts and war. How families deal with having a loved on in the war. Showing that our voices arent really heard and cared about. The music is amazing. It shows the difference between urban and suburban life. You need to look deeper into the story and what its showing. I loved this film but then again maybe its because i could relate to it with having a bunch of people in the Iraq war. Think about it. This movie is a movie i could watch over and over and over again.

Linds

All who say this was horrible are seriously insane. This movie shows the harsh reality of drafts and war. How families deal with having a loved on in the war. Showing that our voices arent really heard and cared about. The music is amazing. It shows the difference between urban and suburban life. You need to look deeper into the story and what its showing. I loved this film but then again maybe its because i could relate to it with having a bunch of people in the Iraq war. Think about it. This movie is a movie i could watch over and over and over again.

Alex R

It seems quite clear to me that being a more independent film also makes it more vulnerable to biased reviews. Argueing a lack of script coherence is mere rationalism, while pointing at the absence of proper "enbodiment of the Fab Four" is a personal expectation, but not perception. I would like only to remain that film-making has much more space for the transmission of the ideas (being art). I greatly enjoyed this. Me and all my friends.

Alex R

It seems quite clear to me that being a more independent film also makes it more vulnerable to biased reviews. Argueing a lack of script coherence is mere rationalism, while pointing at the absence of proper "enbodiment of the Fab Four" is a personal expectation, but not perception. I would like only to remain that film-making has much more space for the transmission of the ideas (being art). I greatly enjoyed this. Me and all my friends.

jefferson

I am incredibly musical-phobic, but the brave brilliance of this film in general, and many scenes in particular, will stay with me for a long time. Beautiful, moving, and unique imagery combined with (usually) supurb music make this one of my year favorites. Yes, it does cheese out at times, there are a couple scenes that weigh the rest of the film down, and the historical myth that it weaves bears some scrutiny. So I understand that some people may be turned off by the film. I would suggest though that most of those with a light heart will appreciate the contribution this film has made to the craft.

jefferson

I am incredibly musical-phobic, but the brave brilliance of this film in general, and many scenes in particular, will stay with me for a long time. Beautiful, moving, and unique imagery combined with (usually) supurb music make this one of my year favorites. Yes, it does cheese out at times, there are a couple scenes that weigh the rest of the film down, and the historical myth that it weaves bears some scrutiny. So I understand that some people may be turned off by the film. I would suggest though that most of those with a light heart will appreciate the contribution this film has made to the craft.

Victoria

What a beautiful film! Don't listen to the bad reviews, written, undoubtedly, by dull and unimaginative types. Go see it! The music, the metaphor, the imagery -- I can't love this film enough!

Victoria

What a beautiful film! Don't listen to the bad reviews, written, undoubtedly, by dull and unimaginative types. Go see it! The music, the metaphor, the imagery -- I can't love this film enough!

shen

A movie that go straight to semplicity and the magic of the human heart. The story is not original or try to tell some deep meaning, is just fresh upbeat and celebrate people, ideals and life. Intodays society where people have become increasingly like machines and relationships have lost integrity and magic a movie like that serve as a reminder that not long ago we use to dream big and enjoy each other with very little things. The Beatles song are remarkably reinterpreted in a very creative manner. Visually the movie is very engaging creating a fairy tale like flavour. The only 2 reasons you might not enjoy this film are if you comsider the Beatles untouchable or if you are a cynic, in other words sad single minded people. I can honestly say this is a movie I can watch time and time again and fully enjoy its semplicity and warmth. I wish more uplifting movies were made.

shen

A movie that go straight to semplicity and the magic of the human heart. The story is not original or try to tell some deep meaning, is just fresh upbeat and celebrate people, ideals and life. Intodays society where people have become increasingly like machines and relationships have lost integrity and magic a movie like that serve as a reminder that not long ago we use to dream big and enjoy each other with very little things. The Beatles song are remarkably reinterpreted in a very creative manner. Visually the movie is very engaging creating a fairy tale like flavour. The only 2 reasons you might not enjoy this film are if you comsider the Beatles untouchable or if you are a cynic, in other words sad single minded people. I can honestly say this is a movie I can watch time and time again and fully enjoy its semplicity and warmth. I wish more uplifting movies were made.

John Martin

Just saw this wonderful film that is part nostalgia and part insight into an era that was a mix of love and radicalization. Completley capturing the excitement and joy of that time. Well worth the time to see it.

John Martin

Just saw this wonderful film that is part nostalgia and part insight into an era that was a mix of love and radicalization. Completley capturing the excitement and joy of that time. Well worth the time to see it.

Greg

Agreed. The film constantly indulged itself in artistic cliches, and seems to be taking advantage of the Beatles' music, instead of paying homage to it. The plot was predictable and slow, and some of the singing was just awful- also, the "surreal" elements were more awkward than mystifying.

Greg

Agreed. The film constantly indulged itself in artistic cliches, and seems to be taking advantage of the Beatles' music, instead of paying homage to it. The plot was predictable and slow, and some of the singing was just awful- also, the "surreal" elements were more awkward than mystifying.

LEN

I disagree with you, it's GREAT. I put on a on a par with SHOWBOAT & SOUTH PACIFIC but then some people call me an old fogy. It has the basic formula for a good film i.e. boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy finds girl again. Tear in the eye at the end and ALL THAT BEATLES MUSIC.

LEN

I disagree with you, it's GREAT. I put on a on a par with SHOWBOAT & SOUTH PACIFIC but then some people call me an old fogy. It has the basic formula for a good film i.e. boy meets girl - boy loses girl - boy finds girl again. Tear in the eye at the end and ALL THAT BEATLES MUSIC.

Michelle

I can't agree with you on this, and in fact, think you must be a tired cynic to dislike this film. I found it a kick, and a great representation of the time period. Well done Miss Taymor and terrific cast!

Michelle

I can't agree with you on this, and in fact, think you must be a tired cynic to dislike this film. I found it a kick, and a great representation of the time period. Well done Miss Taymor and terrific cast!