Across the Universe (movie)

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Across the Universe
Directed byJulie Taymor
Written byJulie Taymor
Dick Clement
Ian La Frenais
Produced byMatthew Gross
Jennifer Todd
Suzanne Todd
StarringJim Sturgess
Evan Rachel Wood
Joe Anderson
Music byElliot Goldenthal
The Beatles
Distributed byColumbia Pictures
Release dates
12 October, 2007 (US and UK)
28 November (France)
22 November, 2007 (Germany)[1]
Running time
120 mins.

Across the Universe is a musical movie made in 2007. It is directed by Julie Taymor and written by Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement. The main characters are played by Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess. There are also other famous actors and singers who appear in the movie: Bono, who plays Dr. Robert, Eddie Izzard as Mr. Kite, Dana Fuchs as a musician called Sexy Sadie, and Salma Hayek as a nurse.

The movie was released in North America on 12 October in 2007.[1]

Plot[change | change source]

The story starts in the early 1960s. A young ship builder from Liverpool named Jude (played by Jim Sturgess) travels by ship to the United States in search of his American G.I. father called Wes (Played by Robert Clohessy). They have never met and his father does not know Jude exists. While looking for his father at Princeton, Jude makes friends with somebody called Max (Played by Joe Anderson), a rebellious young man from a rich background, and Max's sister Lucy (Played by Evan Rachel Wood). When Max drops out of college and moves to New York City, Jude goes with him. Max works as a taxi driver, while Jude tries to find work as an independent artist. They become roommates in a bohemian area of the city where they share an apartment with other people, including a woman called Sadie (Played by Dana Fuchs) who is their landlady and who is also trying to become singer. Other people who live in the same house include Jojo (Played by Martin Luther McCoy), a guitarist who arrives from Detroit after the death of his younger brother; and Prudence (Played by T.V. Carpio), a young lesbian who hitchhikes to New York City from Dayton, Ohio. Lucy joins them in the New York flat after her boyfriend is killed in the Vietnam War.

Lucy and Jude begin dating, as well as Sadie and Jojo, which leaves Prudence depressed. When Max is sent to Vietnam, Lucy becomes involved in an extreme anti-war group, which leads to tension with the non-political Jude. He is unhappy with the amount of time she spends with the political group, suspecting that its leader, Paco (Logan Marshall-Green), is a man who obsessively seduces and deceives women. Jude's art and his relationship with Lucy both start to break down. Meanwhile, Sadie has formed a band called Sadie and the Po Boys, with Jojo as her lead guitarist. She gains the attention of a manager (James Urbaniak) who signs her to a record label, but he wants her to drop her backing band. This leads to a break up between Sadie and Jojo, both musically and romantically.

The differences between Jude and Lucy grow. One day, Jude goes into the offices of the political group where Lucy works and is kicked out after punching Paco. This causes a fight between the couple, resulting in Lucy leaving Jude. Jude finds her at an anti-war demonstration at Columbia University during which many protesters, including Lucy, are arrested. When trying to help her, Jude is also arrested. Though Wes (Jude's Father) persuades the police not to take further action for activity at the protest, he cannot prove that Jude is his son, and Jude is sent back to England.

Max is wounded in Vietnam and is emotionally and mentally troubled by his war experience, while Lucy remains involved in her anti-war group that is becoming more and more violent. After Lucy goes to the old headquarters of her anti-war group, she discovers Paco and some of his followers making bombs. She then decides to leave the group. One of Paco's bombs explodes, destroying the building. Jude reads about the explosion in a Liverpool newspaper and is concerned that Lucy has died. He then hears from Max that she is alive, and he arranges to return to the United States properly and without breaking the law. He meets Max, who drives him to Sadie's music headquarters where a Beatles-style rooftop concert is being held by Jojo, Sadie, and their band singing an anti-war song (Don't let me down). Lucy is supposed to be there to meet Jude again, but no one can find her, and the group is forced to leave when the police arrive. But Jude manages to sneak back onto the roof and begins to sing "All you need is Love", his eyes searching the crowd for Lucy. The rest of the band sneaks back onto the roof, too and they join him with their voices and instruments. Jude smiles sadly and turns to leave the roof, but Max suddenly points as they sing, and Jude turns to see Lucy standing on the roof across the street, singing along. They smile at one another with tears in their eyes, and the screen fades out to white clouds and blue sky.

Cast[change | change source]

Principal[change | change source]

Cameos[change | change source]

Movie soundtrack[change | change source]

The movie's end credits show that a total of thirty-three separate Beatles songs featured in the movie, either in full or in part. All of these songs were written between 1963 and 1970 by the members of The Beatles (John Lennon, Paul McCartney, George Harrison and Ringo Starr) and recorded by The Beatles. Thirty of them are songs that are officially credited to the songwriting partnership of Lennon-McCartney. Three are credited to George Harrison. One title ("Flying") is a 1967 song credited to all four members of the Beatles (Lennon-McCartney-Harrison-Starkey).

Thirty-one of the soundtrack's songs feature vocals. Two of them ("And I Love Her" and "A Day in the Life") are brief instrumental versions of songs that were originally written with lyrics. One song ("Flying") was originally written as an instrumental.

Twenty-five of the vocal tracks are performed by one or more of the six lead cast members. Four of the songs are sung by stars with cameo roles (Bono, Eddie Izzard, Salma Hayek and Joe Cocker). One song ("Let It Be") is sung by supporting members of the cast. One song ("Blue Jay Way") is sung by indie Texan trio The Secret Machines. In twenty-nine of the vocal tracks, the vocalists are singing on-screen. Two of the vocal tracks ("Blue Jay Way" and "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds") are sung by off-screen vocalists.

The remaining three of the thirty-four songs are rendered instrumentally. "Flying" is performed by The Secret Machines, "And I Love Her" is heard briefly as part of the orchestral score, and "A Day in the Life" is performed on guitar by Jeff Beck in a version recorded for Sir George Martin's 1998 album In My Life.

In addition to the thirty-four Beatles songs, the soundtrack features an original score written by Elliot Goldenthal. Goldenthal worked on Taymor's previous movies Titus and Frida. (Goldenthal and director Taymor have also been partners since 1982.)

Beatles songs featured in the movie[change | change source]

This is a listing of the thirty-four songs written by members of The Beatles that are heard on the soundtrack, in the order featured in the movie. This listing includes notation of three songs that are heard twice in the course of the movie, so there are a total of thirty-seven individual music cues.

  1. "Girl" Performed by Jim Sturgess
  2. "Helter Skelter" Performed by Dana Fuchs (brief extract over movie montage - presaging later sequences in the movie) Longer version performed later in movie.
  3. "Hold Me Tight" Performed by Evan Rachel Wood and Lisa Hogg
  4. "All My Loving" Performed by Jim Sturgess
  5. "I Want to Hold Your Hand" Performed by T.V. Carpio
  6. "With a Little Help from My Friends" Performed by Joe Anderson, Jim Sturgess and "Dorm Buddies"
  7. "It Won't Be Long" Performed by Evan Rachel Wood and "Students"
  8. "I've Just Seen a Face" Performed by Jim Sturgess
  9. "Let It Be" Performed by Carol Woods, Timothy T. Mitchum and church choir
  10. "Come Together" Performed by Joe Cocker with Martin Luther McCoy performing the final verse
  11. "Why Don't We Do It in the Road?" Performed by Dana Fuchs
  12. "If I Fell" Performed by Evan Rachel Wood
  13. "I Want You (She's So Heavy)" Performed by Joe Anderson, "Soldiers", Dana Fuchs and T.V. Carpio
  14. "Dear Prudence" Performed by Dana Fuchs, Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Anderson
  15. "Flying" Instrumental - brief extract performed by The Secret Machines (performers not seen on-screen)
  16. "Blue Jay Way" brief extract performed by The Secret Machines (performers not seen on-screen)
  17. "I Am the Walrus" Performed by Bono (accompanied by the Secret Machines - not seen on-screen)
  18. "Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" Performed by Eddie Izzard
  19. "Because" Performed by Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, T. V. Carpio and Martin Luther McCoy
  20. "Something" Performed by Jim Sturgess
  21. "Oh! Darling" Performed by Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy
  22. "Strawberry Fields Forever" Performed by Jim Sturgess and Joe Anderson
  23. "Revolution" Performed by Jim Sturgess
  24. "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" Performed by Martin Luther McCoy (joined by Jim Sturgess for one verse)
  25. "Across the Universe" Performed by Jim Sturgess (the performance of this song is interwoven with the next song Helter Skelter)
  26. "Helter Skelter" Performed by Dana Fuchs (the performance of this song is interwoven with the preceding song Across the Universe)
  27. "And I Love Her" (brief extract incorporated into the orchestral score during the 'Across the Universe/Helter Skelter sequence)
  28. "Happiness Is a Warm Gun" Performed by Joe Anderson, "Patients" and Salma Hayek
  29. "Revolution" Brief extract performed by Evan Rachel Wood
  30. "A Day in the Life" Performed by Jeff Beck (instrumental version of the song recorded in 1998 for George Martin's In My Life album)
  31. "Blackbird" Performed by Evan Rachel Wood
  32. "Hey Jude" Performed by Joe Anderson (joined by Angela Mounsey for one verse)
  33. "Don't Let Me Down" Performed by Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther McCoy
  34. "All You Need is Love" Performed by Jim Sturgess, Dana Fuchs, T.V. Carpio and Martin Luther McCoy
  35. "She Loves You" Performed by Joe Anderson (chorus sung during the last part of the "All You Need Is Love" sequence) (see note below)
  36. "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" Performed by Bono (with backing vocals by The Edge), played over the beginning of the end credit sequence (performance not seen on-screen)
  37. "Flying" Instrumental - extended version performed by The Secret Machines played over the latter portion of the end credit sequence (performers not seen on-screen)

Production dispute[change | change source]

In March 2007, the media reported a dispute over the final cut of the movie. Concerned with the length of director Julie Taymor's cut of the movie, Revolution Studios (production studio) chairman Joe Roth tested a sneak preview of a shortened version without first informing Taymor. The incident caused a quarrel between the two, later involving Sony Pictures (distributor) Amy Pascal urging Taymor to agree to the shorter version.[2][3][4] After several months of dispute, Taymor's version was eventually reinstated as the theatrically released version.[5]

Reception[change | change source]

The movie received mixed reviews from critics. As of January 6, 2008, the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes reported that 52% of critics gave the movie positive reviews, based on 130 reviews. However, the movie is currently at 80% with the Rotten Tomatoes community.[6] Metacritic reported the movie had an average score of 56 out of 100, based on 29 reviews.[7]

Top ten lists[change | change source]

The movie appeared on a few critics' top ten lists of the best movies of 2007.[8]

  • 1st - Carrie Rickey, The Philadelphia Inquirer
  • 7th - Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times[9]
  • 9th - Stephen Holden, The New York Times

Awards and nominations[change | change source]

Nominations[change | change source]

  • 65th Golden Globe Awards[10]
    • Best Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy
  • 80th Academy Awards
    • Costume Design
  • 50th Grammy Awards
    • Best Compilation Soundtrack Album

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 imdb
  2. A Revolt at Revolution? Archived 2007-11-15 at the Wayback Machine. Movie & TV News. 20 March 2007.
  3. More Details of Taymor-Roth Feud Archived 2007-11-14 at the Wayback Machine. Movie & TV News. 21 March 2007
  4. Waxman, Sharon. "Film Has Two Versions; Only One Is Julie Taymor’s". New York Times. 20 March 2007.
  5. Douglas, Edward. Julie Taymor Soars Across the Universe Archived 2011-05-20 at the Wayback Machine. 18 September 2007.
  6. "Across the Universe". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  7. "Across the Universe (2007): Reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 2008-01-06.
  8. "Metacritic: 2007 Film Critic Top Ten Lists". Metacritic. Archived from the original on 2008-02-23. Retrieved 2008-01-05.
  9. Ebert, Roger. "The year's ten best films and other shenanigans" Archived 2007-12-24 at the Wayback Machine. Chicago Sun-Times. 20 December 2007. Accessed 2008-01-05.
  10. "HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION 2008 GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS FOR THE YEAR ENDED DECEMBER 31, 2007". 2007-12-13. Archived from the original on 2009-01-25. Retrieved 2007-12-17.

Other websites[change | change source]