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Kevin Spacey shines in a well acted, but poorly directed mess
hunter-friesen22 October 2017
Beyond the Sea is a passion project Kevin Spacey has been trying to make for years. Here he finally gets the chance to tell the life story of legendary singer Bobby Darin. Acting as both the star and the director, Spacey gives tells us the story of Darin from his childhood years all the way to his untimely death at a young age. While Spacey is the perfect actor to portray Darin, he isn't the best director for the film, making many poor choices in terms of storytelling and plot structure.

The story of Beyond the Sea starts with Bobby Darin trying to make a feature film about his own life. The only problem is that he's a perfectionist with a temper when something doesn't go the way he wants it. Darin is approached by the actor playing his younger self and is told that the film is all wrong and that he needs to start from the very beginning to tell his story. From this point, we learn about Darin's ill childhood and how he was inspired by his grandmother to have a career in music. We then follow his rise from a small town hit to a teen music icon with the hit "Splish Splash." Darin is now a star and goes into movies, falling in love with his soon to be wife, Sandra Dee. This is where we start to see the fall of an idol as Darin lets his dream of being the world's biggest star consume him and everyone around.

The plot unfolds differently because of the film within a film element Spacey uses. Darin recounts his life story to the audience, intercutting between the past, present, and future. The choice to tell the story this way is the biggest detriment to the film. It's actually pretty confusing chronologically when things are happening. The film within a film element is presented at the beginning of the film but is merely alluded to throughout which makes the timeline vague and confusing. We don't really know which parts of the plot are part of the fictional film or the real film. There is also the presentation of a child actor playing Darin as a kid in the film, but he also acts as a part of Darin's mind, almost like a vision that interacts with him. The kid's part in the film is also pretty confusing and is an element that is unneeded to tell the story.

The music here is excellent as we listen to the career hits of Darin. Spacey is a great singer and practically sings every song better than Darin himself. Most songs are done in a sequence on stage or in a kind of music video format. The production that went into each song paid off very well as the choreography, scenery, and costumes are superb. Highlights include "Splish Splash", "Beyond the Sea", and "Simple Song of Freedom".

The acting is the biggest draw of the film, especially Kevin Spacey in the lead role. Spacey was perfectly cast as he uses his immense talent as both an actor and singer to capture Darin's life. The only negative from his casting is that Spacey is a 45-year-old trying to play a rising star in their early 20's. Spacey definitely looks older than he should, but it's not a big distraction as he is the only person who could portray Darin this well. Kate Bosworth is also good as his wife and actress Sandra Dee. We see her character arc evolve as she goes from a young emerging actress to a wife stuck in a dilemma between her family and career. A supporting role by Bob Hoskins is also a pleasant watch as he assumes the role of Darin's father figure. John Goodman slots in with a small supporting role, but doesn't add anything new or exciting to the overall story. While his role isn't well written or directed, William Ullrich as Darin's younger self is quite enjoyable to watch as he sings and dances with immense talent.

Beyond the Sea is a well acted, but poorly directed film that tries too hard to distance itself from other biopic films. The amazing song and dance numbers can't hide a dreadfully constructed plot that is confusing to follow and hard to enjoy. Kevin Spacey still has a gleaming career as an actor left for him and he should stick solely to that before his work as a director gets him in trouble.
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Did this movie inspire LaLaLand?
kalvbsail6 June 2017
Okay so do you think La La Land was inspired by the production number interwoven within this movie??? The music and dancing were very similar from my point of view and executed with similar style. I love Kevin Spacey he is a great artist and vocalist. They capture the 50's 60's genre well. I'm interested to see if anyone else thinks La La Land took some of the style from this???
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Great movie!
storyp8 April 2017
Kevin Spacey did a phenomenal job - the singing was amazing! I did not know about Bobby Darin until I watched this, or that he was married to Sandra Dee, and this was a great story of their love, struggles, and the immense pain of discovering untruths mid-life that have altered his perception of his identity and relationships his entire life. I think this is also a foretelling of the many dual-fame relationships that struggle and often fail when both people are in that Hollywood scene. I give him a lot of credit for not allowing ego to ruin him, but taking the time to explore his soul and understand himself and the legacy he wanted to leave. So many people, some who live a lot longer than he did, never really take that time for self-analysis and reflection. I am happy Kevin Spacey made this movie and paid such a wonderful tribute to a man who lived through immense changes in our country.
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A biopic with an extra spark of spirit and art.
guy-bellinger27 February 2016
Kevin Spacey is an outstanding actor. He is also an exceptionally gifted director. As witness this biography, anything but starchy, of singer- actor Bobby Darin. Titled 'Beyond the Sea' after one of Bobby's hits, this work of art (the word is not too strong!) is not only interpreted by the star of 'Usual Suspects ', it is also sung and danced by Mr. Spacey in the style of his model and practically as well as Bobby Darin himself, as well as co-written (in cooperation with James Toback and Lewis Colick) and, as I put it before, directed – masterfully - by him.

This second (and unfortunately last to-date) directorial achievement (after the already amazing « Albino Alligator ») is really breathtaking. Supposing Spacey had only managed to make a good standard biopic, he would already have been entitled to respect, for few are those who are able to juggle so many talents (playing, singing, dancing, writing & directing). But "Beyond the Sea" deserves not only respect but admiration, since besides being technically flawless, it constantly surprises by its imaginative, stimulating non-linear form. Refusing to tell the story of a life from a (the birth of the character) to z (his death), Spacey, allowing himself bold temporal round trips, literally travels through it. I think for example, of the sequences where grown up Darin dialogs with a boy who is none other than the young himself. Quite an offbeat way of entering the mystery of a man (not unlike « All That Jazz », Bob Fosse's masterpiece)... Which does not prevent Spacey from articulating the story of a true artist passing through the different stages of his life (his youth, the first bouts of rheumatic fever, his rise to success after the triumph of 'Splish Splash', his rough marriage with Sandra Dee, his more or less satisfying film career and his death hastened by bad health). All in all, what actually makes the difference with a merely illustrative biopic is how the director manages to bring extra soul to a life story which, although interesting in itself, would not have sufficed to make 'Beyond the Sea' the masterpiece it is.
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Not good. Not good at all.
irishm15 December 2015
Warning: Spoilers
I don't know much about Bobby Darin. I keep mixing him up with Bobby Van. Can't keep my Connies straight either… which one is Francis, which one is Stevens? So, when I started this movie and saw Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin throw a hissy fit in the middle of a performance, I assumed they were trying to establish that Darin was a tantrum-throwing middle-aged has-been on his way down. And wasn't I surprised to find out later on that Mr. Darin died when he was 37 years old! I don't mind so much if a "star" plays a real person throughout times in his/her life when maybe the age thing is being stretched a little bit, especially if the film encompasses an entire life, but for Spacey to attempt this role at all was utterly ridiculous. Darin fans must be outraged, and those of us who know little or nothing about him going in will get entirely the wrong idea about him. His "courting" of Sandra Dee pinged the creep-meter all the way through, and his proclivity towards wrecking entire rooms and breaking everything he could get his hands on when something displeased him is hardly a praiseworthy trait. Spacey's age is a real problem in scenes like this; they might be more effective played by a younger actor who could embody a young creative hothead and not make the audience dislike him so much. As it is, all we see is the aforementioned middle-aged tantrum-thrower, and it's not a pretty sight. I'm sure the real Bobby Darin had many good qualities, but you'd never know it watching this film.

The musical set-piece in the street was ridiculous… and again, looking at Spacey, why is this thick-waisted middle-aged man dancing in the street in the first place? Oh… he's supposed to be 20. I keep forgetting.

Good points? Well, I understand that was Spacey singing… he did reasonably well covering Darin's hits. I never could stand "Splish Splash", but the title tune is nice, as is "Dream Lover". I love John Goodman but even he seemed to be phoning it in. Best performance was probably by Bob Hoskins.

This is an obvious vanity piece that does not do credit to anyone involved with it. Avoid at all costs. Darin fans won't appreciate the liberties Spacey takes, and those unfamiliar with Darin will come away disliking him intensely which is more than likely not deserved.
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Entertaining biopic featuring some of Darin's biggest hits, and biggest life issues. Surprisingly good musical performance from Spacey.
stanhill8 August 2015
Not only a fitting tribute to Bobby D., but an impressive display of Spacey's talent as a singer! Kudos, and a standing ovation! I was, and still am, only about ten years Darin's junior, but I missed much of his career as it unfolded. Thanks to 'Beyond the Sea', I became not only a Darin fan, but more appreciative of Mr. Spacey as well. How great that he had the initiative, talent, and money, to pay tribute to a boyhood idol in such an effective and impressive way. I bought the soundtrack to 'Beyond the Sea', (twice), and have listened and enjoyed it more than most any other. Thanks Kevin Spacey, and thank you, Bobby Darin

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Kevin Spacey is incredible! as an actor, that is
Warning: Spoilers
Spacey's passion project, "Beyond the Sea", does its job as a biopic in that it does tell the story of Darin's remarkable life. Spacey himself is absolutely outstanding, despite the age gap between himself and the real life Bobby Darin, he still plays the part to perfection. His performance is even further solidified as one of his best when he showcases his impressive singing ability with a voice that really sounds an awful lot like Darin's. Spacey captures, magnificently, Spacey's showmanship on-stage and actions off it. Kate Bosworth, John Goodman, and the rest of the supporting cast also are fantastic in their roles. Now for my only gripe- the directing. This is why I checked the "contains spoiler" box, because this may constitute a spoiler. The story is told out of order as a biopic within a show and this all gets muddled quickly. I would have loved to see the same story of Darin, for his is a life worth knowing, told by a more experienced director than Spacey. However, once the actual storytelling gets told and we start moving chronologically, Darin's life is told very well including every detail making for an entertaining movie. In the end, yes I enjoyed "Beyond the Sea" and yes I will see it again! I would say it is a must-see for any fan of Bobby Darin or even just a fan of Kevin Spacey
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In the era of cool, he was the soundtrack. I agree with that, but I agree the movie needs more work to make it better. It was alright for the most part.
ironhorse_iv26 January 2015
Warning: Spoilers
It might had bomb at the Box Office, when it came out in 2004, but for me, I found the movie to be, very good. It's a guilty pleasure of mine. Directed by Kevin Spacey, the film chronicles, Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) determination to rise from his working class roots as Walden Robert Cassotto, a frail Bronx boy plagued by multiple bouts of rheumatic fever, to his rise of one of the top lounge singer of his era, to his downfall to grace. The movie tells the story of Bobby Darin in a very interesting new way. Rather than providing a straightforward biography, the film weaves fantasy sequences with scenes containing somewhat fictionalized accounts of events in Bobby Darin's life. Throughout the film, the adult singer interacts with his younger self and even goes off into a musical sequence. Does Characters break into joyful song at the most inopportune moments? At times, yes, but you'll find yourself, singing along with his song hits, like "Splish Splash", "Mack the Knife", "Dream Lover" and yes, 'Beyond the Sea". I like a movie that doesn't take itself, too serious. The movie was really trying to go for the cool factor. Did it work? I thought so, but I do wish the movie was little more focus on the story than gimmicky up the movie to make it, watchable. It felt like 2004's De-Lovely," the story of Cole Porter' with its framing. This has been Kevin Spacey's dream project and for the most part, he did it well, both in directing and starring. About Kevin Spacey being too old for the part; I have to agree, it was a bit jarring, but it didn't take me out of the film. Darin died at the age of 37 while Spacey at the time of filming was 45. The film didn't hide that fact, from the audience. They showcase, the obvious age difference right from the outset, with a bizarre setup in which Kevin Spacey is supposed to be Bobby Darin as an older man playing himself as a younger man. It's very odd, but got my attention. Spacey's acting is hit and miss. Yes, there is that overused persona of the sarcastic and sardonic wise guy in this with cheesy dialogue, but then, there is Bobby Darin, back from the death. He really looks like Bobby Darin in the looks department. It's very uncanny. In the film, Kevin Spacey wasn't lip-synching. He was the one singing all the tunes. Yes, Spacey's singing is nowhere near as good as Darin's, but he was alright for the most part. He does have a musical background, being in stage productions of The Sound of Music & Lost in Yonkers. Not only that, he was a big fan of Bobby Darin; so you can know he can sing his songs. He also proves light enough on his feet to contribute to the film's many dance numbers. It's even more evidence of how awesome, Kevin Spacey is. Kate Bosworth as actress, Sandra Dee wasn't that memorable. She cannot bring emotions to the surface. She's by far, the weakest link of the film. The supporting cast does well like Bob Hoskins, John Goodman and others, but their parts are too small to tell, if they giving it, their all. Beyond the Sea rides on how much the audience knows about Bobby Darin. Since Darin's career is short-lived to dying at the age of 37. Not a lot of people might see this film. I have to say, they should. The film does scan through his life, as if reading bullet points, but there is enough twist and turns to keep it, very interesting and entertaining. About the historic accuracy, it's somewhat fiction, somewhat non-fiction. Example: The song, "Beyond The Sea," was recorded many years prior to Bobby's relationship with Sandra Dee. Is Bobby Darin, an egotistical, fame-hungry, man like the movie portray him as? Probably, but it's does show a good side of Darin, as well. I like movies that able to do that, show he's faults and goods. At least, the real life people around Bobby Darin's life, like daughter, Dodd Darin, wife Sandra Dee and former Darin manager Steve Blauner like the film and through it was a great performance. Overall: It's an excellent tribute by a fan, for fans of Bobby Darin, but for the outsiders looking in. They might not get it and sadly, I wish the movie work, more on that, because that is what Bobby Darin deserve. A good overall movie; not a alright movie like this.
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somewhat interesting biopic but needs more tension
SnoopyStyle6 July 2014
Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey) is making a biopic of his life. He's brash, cocky and a perfectionist. As he talks to a kid in the production, he flashes back to his life starting with his mother Polly Cassotto (Brenda Blethyn) in the Bronx. Then there is his big hit "Splish Splash", his career of singing the standards, his marriage to Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) and his movie career. But the marriage has its difficulties, his career fades, and a shocking revelation from his sister.

Kevin Spacey shows that he can be a song and dance man. The story stalls a few times. The long running time causes some of that. Also unless you're a fan of the standards, they do tend to slow the movie down. That's not to say that there aren't any compelling or funny moments. The competing running away with his wife is hilarious. His struggle to find meaning is compelling. However those moments are too few and far between. The movie could squeeze a good chuck out to ratchet up the tension.
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Magical in its own way
statuskuo5 March 2014
I really appreciated what Spacey was trying to accomplish here, and without using the word "daring" I believe he got the sense of the man somewhat. Very vague at points and sometimes, inappropriately comically dark, this is a movie made if Bobby Darin ever got a chance to direct.

I enjoyed the movie a great deal. The last half, seems a bit labored. And frankly not as fun as the front half. Which is unpleasant and unfortunately by hanging to the truth, we have to let go with the downside. Bosworth's Sandra Dee disappears towards the end of the movie. It seems that the focus is on Darin but then shifts to their relationship only to be reminded that she was part of it. She seemed a bit cardboard for my taste. And they glossed over some darkness in her past.

I went away not really learning anything new, I didn't already know about the guy. It'd be interesting if it were a fictional character. I think, since Darin was a celebrity, this may've handicapped Spacey in that aspect. I honestly believed this could've been a crushing home run, had it just stepped a little further over the edge. All-in-all sweet and worth the time.
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youngsteve2 March 2014
Warning: Spoilers
I had seen snippets from this movie over the years, & finally decided to view it on satellite, as it I liked biopics in general & also Kevin Spacey directed & starred in it. Unfortunately, like a lot of films that I had liked the look of over the years, the reality of watching them proved to be a big disappointment, as this did.

This could have been a good movie, as it had an interesting subject in Bobby Darin & his relationship with Sandra Dee, & also covered a wide area of interesting stuff. Unfortunately, if it been dealt with as a biopic it would have been great, but it ended up as a lot of pretentious nonsense, which I can only conclude was the say so of the Director Kevin Spacey.

The positive points are in particular the songs which are staged well, and sung by Kevin Spacey. I never even knew he could sing, but he does an excellent job putting over the songs & has a good voice. The period is also fairly well replicated & looks good.

The problems are many, & is hardly helped with the plot, which meanders all over the place, much of which is confusing at times as well as boring. The acting is not great, with the possible exception of Kate Bosworth who surprisingly does a fairly good job as Sandra Dee. The biggest problem is Spacey, who although as mentioned does a sterling effort with the singing looks completely wrong as Darin, as he is far to old. Darin was around 24 when he met Dee, whereas Kevin Spacey was in his 40's at the time of filming, & looks his years. I know the leading actors in films are on occasions decades older than the leading lady, but here it looks ridiculous, & completely out of place.

The other main issue is this annoying brat of a child, who is Darin when younger, who keeps popping into the film for no reason & ruining it. The last 10 minutes in particular are excruciatingly bad, when the little idiot comes calling & actually does a song and dance with Spacey.

There are plenty of other annoyances, particularly involving his close circle of friends, but you get the picture by now. Could have been very good, but for reasons only known to Kevin Spacey himself, turned out to be rather disappointing.
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Great - don't bother with other opinions. Watch for yourself.
hollyjolly7115 September 2013
I didn't watch this movie for a long time because my neighbor said it was sad and I didn't want to be sad. I thought it would be like "Leaving Las Vegas". That's what I get for listening to someone else's opinion.

I just finished it and thought it was great. It reminded me of an old musical like Bye Bye Birdie or West Side Story. I didn't expect that. I loved the music and thought Spacey was wonderful in all aspects - singing, dancing, acting and directing. I actually "googled" it to see if it had won any awards. I thought it was that good.

Just goes to show, we all have our own opinions and personally, I will watch it again. Loved the music and everything about it. I miss good movies like this.
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By a fan, for the fans
Steve Pulaski12 September 2013
Kevin Spacey's heart is always in the right place in Beyond the Sea being both behind the camera and in front of it, profiling the life of the singer Bobby Darin. However, it is Spacey Luke Colick's screenplay where the heart becomes a bit too consumed with comedic instances and biopic clichés rather than illustrating the believable or, better yet, the truth. The film is a crowdpleasing piece of entertainment all around, though, with the ability to mesmerize, delight, encourage singing, and maybe even move the audience to cut loose. Rarely do biopics themselves possess the same traits as the person they are profiling.

Bobby Darin always seems to find himself a bit lost in the shuffle when one regards the classic music of the fifties and sixties, sandwiched between the classic rock band and the swooning country singers of the time. However, Darin did enjoy a wide variety of success from movie hits to, of course, several albums and singles before he died at a young thirty-seven years old. The film profiles everything, from his troubled childhood where a vicious illness left him bed-ridden with little optimism for a more stable life, to his more adult, anti-war persona he adopted during the Vietnam was. Also chronicled are numerous moments of arrogance on Darin's part, a rocky marriage with actress Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth), and many tremendous singing performances by Spacey himself.

Spacey embodies Darin, showing him as both a constantly-anxious, creative singer and an often selfish man trying to assume all possible roles in his life in a micromanaging fashion. It's unsurprising to note how well Spacey captures the range of Darin's character with great fluidity and fun but sort of surprising at how marvelous and enchanting Spacey's singing voice is. Easily the hardest part for actors when assuming the role of a classic singer is trying to at least come close to reaching the power his singing-voice had. Joaquin Phoenix did it with Johnny Cash in Walk the Line and Jamie Foxx did it with Ray Charles in Ray (both released in 2004, the same year as Beyond the Sea). And now, Spacey does it with Darin, in a performance more memorable than many instances in the film.

Spacey's best singing scene comes late in the film, after Darin has adopted the anti-war attitude in the wake of Vietnam, and sings "Simple Song of Freedom" to a packed house. The song is poetic as it illustrates popular opinion during the Vietnam war, with Spacey delivering hard-hitting lines like, "let it fill the air, tell the people everywhere - we the people here don't want a war." Of course, Darin's other hits are covered throughout the film, such as "Splish Splash" and "That's All," but Spacey truly embodies "Simple Song of Freedom" with vocal precision and the power to engross even the most hardened listener.

One of the few things that slow down Beyond the Sea is its intrusive comedy during scenes where it would've been better if Spacey and Colick's script allowed for simply drama to take over. Consider the scene where Bobby has just lost the Oscar at the Academy Awards and is fiercely screaming at Sandra, his long-suffering wife. The scene sort of evolves from a depressing and verbally violent scene to a slightly comedic scene based on Spacey's over-the-top approach to the material at hand. In addition, it's kind of disheartening to see another biopic that feels the need to tack on cheesy and plastic framework for its story by having a young kid challenging Bobby Darin's posse at the beginning of the film that he indeed knows Darin better than all of them.

Beyond the Sea still serves as solid biopic fare solely because it does respect to its figure and features some of the most delightful singing this side of musical biographies as well. Spacey and the entire cast work well as a whole, and some anthems are undeniably powerful. There are several leagues when it comes to biopics, from Walk the Line to The Iron Lady and, in this case, Beyond the Sea makes up a league closer to the first-mentioned film.

Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Bob Hoskins, and John Goodman. Directed by: Kevin Spacey.
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Suspension of Disbelief Essential For Believability In Standard Biopic
museumofdave24 March 2013
While essentially a standard, old-fashioned musical biopic, this Spacey oddity has many major strengths, and one whopper of a drawback; the film never flags in energy, it charts a life in music clubs like the Copacabana and whirls in Hollywood with Sandra Dee, all done with a heady nostalgic flair. The film has a dynamic supporting cast--what's not to like about Kate Bosworth, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, and Greta Schacchi? And Spacey can belt out the Darin songs with amazing energy and galvanizing verve.

But you can't fool the camera! Being a stage actor, Mr. Spacey may have thought that a man twice as old as Darin could get away with being a teenybopper delight--distance can create that illusion. But the camera, up-close and in person, and Spacey's frame, that of an aging middle-aged man, creates an often macabre ambiance when placed next to obviously younger people. As Darin ages, Spacey fills in nicely--but it took this viewer an hour to suspend disbelief.
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This is a fantastic movie
kubliakhan23 November 2012
This is a fantastic movie with terrific music. Kevin Spacey was simply amazing and has a great voice. He may have been ten years too old to play Darin, but he's so much fun to watch, it doesn't matter. His performance was certainly Oscar worthy. Kate Bosworth is good too and stunningly beautiful. If you like the big band Sinatra sound, you'll love this film. I wish I had seen it when it came out, but I just didn't think I'd be interested in Bobby Darin. I was wrong. He was a talented song writer and fantastic singer who died (of natural causes) much, much too young. Now I've got to go out and buy a CD of Darin's greatest hits (and maybe one of Kevin Spacey's as well.)
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A Tribute To Bobby Darin
Desertman8410 October 2012
Warning: Spoilers
Kevin Spacey is best known for playing pyschopaths and a creep in mid- life crisis but surprisingly,he plays crooner Bobby Darin.He does some snappy dancing and top-notch singing. Beyond the Sea puts Darin's life through a bit of a kaleidoscope. Spacey, who stars in the lead role and used his own singing voice for the musical numbers, co-wrote, directed, and co-produced the film, which takes its title from the Darin song of the same name. It depicts Darin's rise to teen idol success in both the music and film industry during the 1950's and 60's, as well as his marriage to Sandra Dee, portrayed by Kate Bosworth. John Goodman, Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn and Greta Sacchi co-star.

Born Bobby Cassotto and raised in the Bronx, young Bobby was raised by his mother, Polly, his brother-in-law, Charlie, and his sister, Nina. At the age of 15, Bobby contracted a severe case of rheumatic fever, which was expected to take his life; while it left him with a weak heart, Bobby beat the odds and survived. Buoyed by a love of music passed along by his mother, Bobby learned to play several instruments and began singing as he recovered. Displaying a confidence and drive which stopped just short of arrogance, he adopted the stage name Bobby Darin and set his sights on becoming a star. After a string of hits as a rock & roll singer, Darin takes another gamble, and with the help of manager Steve Blauner he reinvents himself as a supper-club vocalist in the manner of Frank Sinatra. All the more remarkably, he succeeds, and his swinging version of "Mack the Knife" tops the charts. Now a major singing star, Darin decides to take up acting; on the set of his first movie, he woos his female co-star Sandra Dee, and despite the stern objections of her mother, Bobby and Sandra wed. But after a string of successful movies for Dee and hit records and an Oscar nomination for Darin, the shifting tastes of the 1960's throw their careers off-track. Bobby cautiously embraces the new sounds of the day, but his old fans don't want to hear him cover Bob Dylan or the Rolling Stones, while the younger audience isn't interested in his new sound, leaving Darin in a difficult place to make his way back to stardom.

Many people under 40 may not even remember Bobby Darin, let alone know about his remarkable life story. Beyond the Sea may rectify that problem and stand as a wonderful tribute to an amazing talent who left us all too soon.It is a heartfelt gem, so earnest, so joyful and so celebratory of Bobby Darin's spirit that the movie's flaws or embarrassments are completely irrelevant.Also,Kevin Spacey the actor makes up for his directorial effort.While Kate Bosworth is superb as Darin's charming wife Sandra Dee.Overall,it a good biofilm.
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You will love or hate this....
PippinInOz1 January 2012
Warning: Spoilers
....and as you can see by the low 2 out of 10, well, it was not at all my 'bag'.

However, there is clearly an audience for this kind of post modern musical biopic.

Some of you, like me, are not this audience - so if this is the case: Avoid.

I genuinely admire Kevin Spacey, but for me this screams: 'Vanity Project'.

What you get:

Clever dick post modern stuff. The opening scene is Kevin Spacey playing Bobby Darin on stage, who is playing himself in a film biopic. Yep. One of those.

Brenda Blethyn - overacting to blazes doing her Noo Joiysee shtick. Bob Hoskins, an actor I genuinely love, again being made to over act in an American film.

Long musical numbers - Kevin minces it up with the best of them. Bless 'im. He is clearly enjoying himself immensely. Unfortunately, I really REALLY did not enjoy myself watching him enjoying himself.

You will press the fast forward button - A LOT.

I know it is deliberate (the 'calling attention to it's own artifice' of post modernity), but the entire 'stagey' stuff just leaves me colder than a day walking down Southend Pier in February.

If this is your thing - watch and enjoy. Clearly, judging by the reviews here, a lot of people DO like this stuff.

If it isn't - Move away Ladies and Gentlemen, ain't nothing to see here.

Quite awful actually.
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"When the delivery guy knows me, then I'm something"!
classicsoncall27 May 2011
Warning: Spoilers
When I was entering my teenage years, the Beatles were hitting the U.S. at around the same time. I didn't connect with Bobby Darin's music back then, even though 'Mack the Knife' had a ubiquitous presence on Top 40 radio, even after it's release in 1959. Today, 'Beyond the Sea' stands as one of my all time favorite tunes, and listening to Bobby Darin singing his hit songs again is almost like hearing them for the first time. Director and star Kevin Spacey takes a unique approach in presenting the life of Bobby Darin on the big screen, and to a large extent he's successful. I too had my doubts about Spacey's age in some of the early career sequences, but they were largely dispelled by the creative way Spacey draws attention to that fact early on, using his youthful alter-ego (William Ullrich) to counter point the elder Darin's paranoid tendencies. What the film probably does best is impart Darin's sense of urgency in establishing his legacy, knowing that his rheumatic heart condition meant living on borrowed time. Yes, there's a rushed feel to the romancing of Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) and the overview of Darin's rise to the top of his profession, but there's only so much you can do in a film. When it was over, you couldn't have convinced me that it was two and a half hours long. Punctuated by most of Darin's hit songs, the only one I was left wanting for was 'Eighteen Yellow Roses', especially after that tease during the night club scene when the camera panned by a couple of vases drawing almost subliminal attention to it. But a small price to pay over all. I enjoyed the film and now have a firmer appreciation of the price Bobby Darin had to pay for his career success. It's a film I'd recommend and will likely watch over again.
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A Cack-handed Compliment
Gobobo13 February 2011
First off, I'm a fan of Kevin Spacey. I've watched several movies with him in them and I'd say he's one of the better actors of our times and generally chooses decent scripts. I'd even go as far to say I've enjoyed watching all the films he has been in - until this one.

He comes across as creepy, trying to play a young, energetic singer being carried away on a tide of newfound stardom and having cheated death. Spacey's attempts at being young are, frankly, embarrassing. He wafts his hands around, skips, contorts his face to try to look optimistic and generally makes a complete fool of himself.

Towards the end of the film he seems more natural; although he's still playing someone at least a decade younger than his age, he can act. He does bitter, down-trodden, negative and calculating parts very well. I didn't realise, though, that his acting abilities were quite so limited. Unless he did a bad job here on purpose?

Although I'm not a fan of Darin, I do hope someone does as bad a job of honoring Spacey after he has gone. Some say you have to respect Spacey for doing something completely original and imaginative to tell the story, but it's supposed to be a tribute to a talented performer who lived under a cloud most of his life and died at a young age. A little more sensitivity should've been used.
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Absolutely first-rate!
jcs7927 January 2011
I didn't think it would be THIS good. Only thing I have to say, I was in tears by the 20 minute mark, with Bobby/Kevin sining Artificial Flowers. I was a HUGE Bobby Darin fan, Kevin got it absolutely right! The Bio-pic movie idea was inspired. I was hopelessly in love with Sandra Dee in the late 50's, and Kate is PERFECT in that role. The music is superb, and the story woven through the movie makes one long for a simpler time, a better place. It's been a long time since I've seen a movie that moved me as much as this one. The use of the song "Once Upon a Time" just blew me away. I wish it was on the box set of B. Darin I have. Been a long long time since a movie moved me this much.
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Brilliantly conceived and executed.
Bob-4515 January 2011
"Kevin Spacey as Bobby Darin?" I shook my head in disbelief. THEN, I remembered what an outstanding job Gary Busey did as Buddy Holly. So, I decided to give this one a chance. Boy! Am I glad! "Beyond the Sea" works on EVERY level. informative biography, sublimely entertaining musical, innovative fantasy and strong drama. Since this was Spacey's "pet project" for years, I'm sure he would have preferred filming it when he was younger. However, Spacey's solution is brilliant; by making the story a flashback, after Darin was aging and in poor health, I could accept Spacey, since he is portraying Darin's life as Darin REMEMBERS it; and, like most of us, Darin remembers his life as he is at the end of it.

The cast is uniformly excellent, though I would have preferred Monica Potter over Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee. While, at a distance, Bosworth resembles Dee, Monica Potter resembles Dee as well as Spacey does Darin.

While Spacey is not the accomplished vocalist Darin was, who is? Certainly Spacey acquits himself wonderfully acting, singing AND dancing. The dance routines are especially inspired, as Spacey displays such energy, it is easy to forget his age. When I remembered Spacey is also directing this film, I can only marvel at his talent.

Altogether the most satisfying musical biography I've seen, I give "Beyond the Sea" a "10".
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Great Performance
Jerome Barathieu24 October 2010
I did not Bobby Darin at all before the film and I have to confess I did not know what I was about to watch. I really enjoyed this film because I think Kevin Spacey is really playing very well (from what I have read many people complain about his age but I am not really sure it is relevant I prefer an "old" actor playing a part very well more than an actor fitting perfectly the age and not capable of doing something proper).

The real problem with this film is that is not really original but apart from that I really loved it and was captivated by the story and sad at the time and I think it was the purpose of the film in the first place. I also want to discover this singer now and it was also a purpose of the film.

The rest of the cast gets the job done but nothing more but the magic comes from the great Kevin Spacey who proves he is capable of playing amazingly well.

I was at first tempted by an 8 but the 6.6 average mark is a shame for this film I advise everyone to watch.
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A diasapointment
toonnnnn20 June 2010
Warning: Spoilers
This film is the biopic of the life of Bobby Darrin.The film looks like a play or certainly comes across like that,when I was watching it.The film stars Bobby Darrin,directed by Kevin Spacey so you can admire him or not,depending on your point of viewed the film.The story is told using a younger Bobby Darrin acting as a guide to the older bobby,in my opinion not a very wise move.The movie seems remarkably old fashioned,with music and dance numbers all over the place.The music is good to listen to,particularly the night club sequences.Kevin Spacey is far too old for the main role,however he does his best,given good support from John Goodman and Bob Hoskins.Bobby Darrin never seemed that bigger star to me,to deserve a bio pic.The film covers the early part of his career very well,then his career stalls,and Bobby comes back as a protest singer,eventually accepted by the public at the height of the Vietnam war.Bobbys domestic life is well covered,his marriage was rocky at times but they seem to stick together.A film that fails top deliver as whole,but has the good odd moment in short a film for Bobby Darrins fans only.
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It shouldn't work, but it does and it does so in spades
patrick powell2 May 2010
Beyond The Sea, portraying the life and times of singer and actor Bobby Darin, shouldn't work but it does: part biopic, part musical, part fantasy, it is none of these, yet all of them. It might well have ended up a great, amorphous, self-indulgent mess and that it doesn't is, I should imagine, down to the undoubted and, apparently limitless, talents of Kevin Spacey. Not only did he co-write, direct and co-produce Beyond The Sea, he also sings the songs himself and proves to my — admittedly untutored eye — that he is no mean hoofer. It is legitimate to ask: why portray the life of Bobby Darin. He was undoubtedly a good singer with any number of hits to his name and even won an Oscar, but the name will surely mean nothing to most folk under the age of 60. And there is any number of good singers with hits to their names as well as Oscar-winning actors whose lives might equally have merited film treatment. So why Bobby Darin. The answer is quite banal: Spacey has admitted that he has always been fascinated by the singer. Well, if the money is their to pay the production costs and the investors are confident they will turn a profit, why not make this film. But that rather misses the point, and it is relevant to point out that for a man in his mid-forties, Spacey is an unlikely choice to play Darin. But Beyond The Sea is no vanity project. In its mix of genre, it seems to have evolved into a new one, and one I am hard pushed to give a name. The only other film of which it reminds me is Chicago. In both seemingly scenes rooted in the real world pan out into glossy stage numbers. It's a risky way of going about making films, but, and this is crucial, it works and works in spades. Why see it, especially if you have never heard of Bobby Darin? My advice is simple: if you like exceptionally well-made films, with a story, with songs, with dancing, with poignancy and with a lot of vim and chutzpah, you well spend an agreeable two hours with Beyond The Sea. In short, if you like this kind of thing, if you liked Dancin' In The Rain, On The Town and An American In Paris, you will probably love Beyond The Sea. Spacey's performance is noteworthy as is that of Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee, the woman who fell in love with him and never fell out of love. Special mention should also go to William Ulrich as 'Little Bobby', who shares a great dance number with Spacey as the older Darin. As I said, this shouldn't work, but it does, and that is a certain magic in itself.
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Darin dazzles
SusanHampson6 March 2010
Warning: Spoilers
In 'Beyond the Sea' when Kevin Spacey first swaggers through the backstage of his show to reach the front of house, I was reminded of Frank Sinatra surrounded by his henchmen, And, when he pauses to sign an autograph, you just know that his easy manner can only have been carved out from some pretty miserable mileage - just like Sinatra's.

Kevin Spacey's Bobby Darin is one hundred per cent superstar, on and off stage, and his twinkling eyes burn like blazing torchlights throughout his entire performance. Spacey, the man, looks like he's having a blast whether crooning to his beloved audience or falling in love with the beautifully delicate, Sandra Dee (played by Kate Bosworth). It's all in the eyes with Spacey and they mock and they tease in equal measure. Never have I seen a pair of eyes so successfully pluck a face out of mediocrity.

As Spacey wrote, directed, co-produced and starred in this movie, it would be hard for it not to showcase his formidable talent. With more than a little artistic licence, he cleverly merges Bobby Darin the child with Bobby Darin the man and as the two connect, it makes for some stunning dance sequences. It is this that gives this film the edge over other music biopics. Brenda Blethyn plays Polly, his mother, and, as usual, you get the bountiful high spirits that she does so well. Bob Hoskins plays his loving brother-in-law and John Goodman, his manager. All of those in his social circle are larger than life, loyal and loving; in a lot of ways he is blessed.

This is a story of a man whose ambition burns just as bright as the glimmer in his eyes and as you watch him overcome a sickly childhood through his passion for music, you just know you are watching a man destined to overcome adversity -a true star in the making. Spacey's portrayal of Bobby Darin is sensational - you never feel sorry for him even though he has been told that he won't live beyond his sixteenth birthday - such is his upwardly mobile spirit. One of Spacey's finest performances if you ask me.
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