Across the Universe
The love story about a British boy and an American girl is set against the backdrop of the social upheaval of the 1960s. Although not about the Beatles, the musical uses their songs to drive the narrative, with the actors singing and dancing to the classic tunes.
The actors can act! Jim Sturgess as Jude and Evan Rachel Wood as Lucy are very good in their respective roles. And Jim Sturgess can really sing those Beatles songs. He has the kind of voice which could land himself a hit record one day. There are a lot of colorful and vibrant scenes in the movie, including psychedelic scenes. And speaking of the word psychedelic, this is the problem with the film. The drug explosion of the sixties is included very realistically in this movie, such as characters smoking marijuana and heavily drinking. Throw in a symbolic drug trip, along with bursting psychedelic colors on a bus, and the travelers lying beside each other like a hippie group gathering at a love fest, and…well, you get the idea. The Beatles influence is seen consistently throughout the picture as, for example, the number 9 keeps popping up on doors and in various places.
There are also several nude scenes, including a few psychedelic “nudes” as the credits run. The film is convoluted in my opinion and attempts to do too much. There are just too many images and characters. Its stand against the Viet Nam War, which includes combat scenes, is obviously an anti-war statement against today’s situation in Iraq. There is a lot of symbolism in this film. It’s not that symbolism is bad. It is easy to understand what the filmmakers goal was. What is confusing is the journey they use to get there. Due to the aforementioned problems, and some couples having pre-marital sex, Dove cannot award our seal to this movie as a family-friendly film.