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Why hasn't the movie Beyond The Sea, the biopic of Bobby Darin been released nationwide on wide release? Was it strategically for Academy Awards? or a distribution problem? The same thing has been very common with other films that have been promoted heavily during a period of time and at the moment of release only a couple of hundred movie houses show the film. I know that there are strategies used by distribution companies specially during Oscar time showing films very limited at the end of the year in order not to miss the deadline and later they invest heavily for wider release. I wonder if this practice doesn't hurt the film since it looses momentum.
Bobby Darin crammed a lot of living into his 37 years, and if he never
achieved the pinnacle of stardom he yearned for, he created an
unforgettable legacy in an era where, with talent and luck, magic could
happen. And Kevin Spacey has captured the magic in this loving film
biography! While far too old for the role (his gaunt features scarcely
recall the chubby-faced Italian-American crooner), Spacey, as star and
director, shares Darin's passion for perfection, and the film has an
electricity that many other recent film biographies have lacked. Not
only does the film offer a flawless musical performance by Spacey (who
worked from Darin's original arrangements), it addresses Darin's
personal demons (knowledge he would die young, after childhood
rheumatic fever; discovering his 'sister' was, in fact, his mother;
seeing the musical world completely change around him; an increasing
dependency on drugs) without falling into clichés or relying on
modern-day editorializing. Darin embraced life, and this joy makes the
film a celebration of the man behind the music.
The highlight of the film is Darin's remarkable, life-long love with Sandra Dee, portrayed to wide-eyed perfection by Kate Bosworth. Dee, totally controlled by her manipulative mother (Greta Scacchi), was as naive as any of her screen heroines, and her pursuit by the amorous pop singer was as funny and wildly romantic as a classic Hollywood musical (a fact not lost on Spacey, who turns the courtship into a terrific singing and dancing production number). Only after their marriage, when Darin's career made him a frequently absentee husband and father, did Dee find increasing solace in a bottle, as her career crumbled...and to both of their credit, Darin and Dee put their careers on hold, to give their son more attention, despite the disastrous effect it had on each of them, professionally.
"Beyond the Sea" offers a first-rate supporting cast, including blustery John Goodman, as loyal manager Steve Blauner, Brenda Blethyn, as Darin's gifted mother/grandmother, and Caroline Aaron and Bob Hoskins, as his sister/mother, and her wise, 'blue collar' husband. Deserving special recognition is young William Ullrich, portraying Darin, as a child, who not only offers a sensitive portrayal, but does a very credible song-and-dance number with Spacey! Filmed entirely at Germany's Marlene Dietrich Studios (during the frigid winter of 2003), the film perfectly captures the 'look' of New York, Italy, and Las Vegas, with no indication of the financial difficulties Spacey faced during production (causing shooting to be delayed nearly six months).
The final film certainly justifies the hardships; it is on the short list of truly great pop performer biographies, and is a well-deserved triumph for Kevin Spacey!
I am Bobby Darren fan and I rented the movie because I was curious how
his life would be portrayed. My admiration for Mr. Spacey's past work
was also a big reason. Generally, I'll watch anything he's in.
Having said all that, I felt the movie was confusing and lacked good direction. Possibly Mr. Spacey overextended himself by taking on too much for one person.
Ms. Bosworth is a very attractive woman, but lacks seasoning as an actress. Too many beautiful women are in roles because of their looks these days. She has the same level of acting skills as Sandra Dee did, but that does not mean Ms. Bosworth can play the real person.
The little boy metaphor made the movie confusing to me at first. I finally got it (I'm getting old!)and it made the ending memorable.
The supporting cast was great, but overall the movie was just average. Who does musicals anymore?
This was a very good movie about Bobby Darin. Kevin Spacey was very good and came close to sounding and acting like Bobby Darin. Kate Boswell looked a lot like Sandra Dee and even sounded like her. She had a hard role to play and she did it well. Sandra Dee is still a beautiful lady and she has been true to Bobby. I believe that they were meant to be forever together. I know Kevin Spacey left out a lot about Bobby Darin's last days. I did not know how terribly sick he was until the last two months of his life and I was completely heartbroken when I found out how dangerously ill he was. I was inconsolable when he died. But, I very glad that there are people who have been able to get records and tapes of his TV appearances. I really wish that they had used Bobby's voice in the movie. Althugh Kevin came very close and is very talented, Bobby Darin fans needed to hear Bobby Darin. Bobby Darin deserves to be remembered as much as Frank Sinatra and Bob Hope ans Sammy Davis Jr. and Judy Garland and all of the great entertainers of the past 100 years
Rarely have I given a good review to anything over 105 Minutes in
length, but I feel that it is necessary to give a good old yippee! to
this Kevin Spacey labor of love. Although the film glosses over some of
the seamy aspects of Bobby Darin's career and love life, it remains
true to the spirit of Bobby Darin the entertainer. I especially enjoyed
the vocals by Mr. Spacey.
By the end of the movie, I could almost believe that Mr. Spacey was several years younger than he actually is. I do not believe that his portrayal of the younger man took anything away from the story.
I always enjoy performances by John Goodman (manager), Kate Bosworth (Sandra Dee) and Bob Hoskins (brother-in-law). Caroline Aaron gave an extraordinary performance as the sister of Bobby Darin. She has been overlooked as a character actor for far too long. The too short, but great part of Bobby's mother by Brenda Blethyn was thoroughly believable. Finally, William Ullrich (young Bobby Cassotto) was a good counterpoint to the older character played by Mr. Spacey.
I was never a fan of the Hollywood musical movie, but I thought that the musical numbers took us back to the sights and sounds that may have contributed to the 'Bobby Darin image'.
Half All That Jazz,half A Star Is Born (Streisand's version) Beyond The Sea is one of the weirder "personal" projects by a star I've ever seen. Although I found Spacey's direction to be outstanding (he does a terrific job with the musical performances, for example, which is incredibly daunting even for veteran directors.)and his singing is also spot on, Please dear Lord, never, ever let him be photographed dancing again. His arrhythmic flailings are closer to "first-time ice skater" than Gene Kelly and are not easy to watch. My problems with the film fall into two categories: one minor, one major-- because the film was made on a smallish budget and is mostly soundstage bound, the interiors often seem cramped and claustrophobic. (I have to give Spacey the director credit: he never lets this get in the way of the performances. He moves the camera like a polished pro.)The major problem is the Star Is Born aspect: there is a big chunk in the middle of the film, beginning with Darin's marriage to Sandra Dee, where the flashy fantasy show biz aspects of the film are set aside and it becomes a dullish and conventional, "bad movie, bad marriage" hash. But Kate Bosworth continues to move beyond her Blue Crush debut and does a fine job with her part, becoming even more convincing as her character ages.(Parenthetically, John Goodman seems to be revisiting his agent part from Dylan's Masked and Anonymous, although somewhat toned down.) It's a diverting, if minor and flawed, film and will be worth a rental whenever it shows up on DVD.
In a season peppered with the introduction of Oscar-contender-worthy
films, a real candidate in those difficult to measure categories of
Class and Risk is at hand: "Beyond The Sea" is solid fare, a
meritorious work that was brought to fruition by a man impassioned with
the life of an American original.
Bobby Darin may not have been the most important entertainer of his time, but Kevin Spacey (dancer, singer, actor and director) makes us realize how intriguing Mr. Darin's story really was, and in the telling demonstrates why Spacey's own talent and interest is uniquely showcased. Therefore it is quite surprising how unsympathetic or unsupportive the critical community has been.
Bobby Darin contracted rheumatic fever at a very young age and was determined to have only an outside chance of reaching even the age of fifteen, or so the story goes. But he did persevere until the ripe old age of 37 and in his passing recorded enough hits to recommend some attention. His recording of "Mack The Knife" alone puts him head and shoulders above countless recording artists of this or any time; it is an American standard that not one person over twenty is ignorant of or doesn't like. And that has been the case since 1960! His life was pretty darned full (wife Sandra Dee, father to a son, an Academy Award nominated actor and he racked up more than his share of hit records) and Spacey more than adequately demonstrates this. I don't know what high drama some would require of a star thus explored; but it is obvious that Mr. Spacey threw himself into the role with abandon and puts out the second third classy hit of '04 it is in the same category as "De-Lovely" and "Ray" in that regard.
On the Tomatometer we find "Beyond The Sea" has garnered only a 40% approval rating, while the meticulously crafted and far more intelligent "Meet The Fockers" has earned a 39%. There is no other film the in the current (01/05/04) Rotten Tomatoes Top 50 with a similar score. Find this odd? So do I.
I posit jealousy among those that cannot do (dance, act, direct, write or sing) we critics is the operative this holiday season. How else to explain the critical acceptance of "Ocean's Twelve" it received a whopping 59% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes and the lackluster reviews received by "Beyond The Sea"? All "Twelve" admittedly a pretty good film has going for it is class. Well, Kevin Spacey shows us a turn and weaves a story interesting enough to keep a theater full of fairly discriminating viewers in Sacramento engaged. Kudos to Kevin.
Rating: 3-1/4 stars.
Okay, I didn't have a problem with Kevin Spacey. Actually I thought he
did an excellent job in his portrayal of Darin and his age didn't
bother me at all (probably because I'm old).
The problem is with what is (apparently) the movie method of biographical story telling. The pre-sixties movie biography went out of the way to make the subjects angels which any fool knows they couldn't have been (i.e. "The Glenn Miller Story", 1953 or "Follow the Sun", 1951). In the sixties and seventies the movie biography went out of the way to make the subjects romanticized jerks and sociopaths which, typically, they were (i.e. "Lenny", 1974, Bonnie and Clyde, 1967).
For the new century it appears that the style is to describe the subject through some kind of chemically induced fever dream (i.e. "The Life and Death of Peter Sellers" also 2004 which I would have sworn was written, produced and directed by the same crew as "Beyond the Sea").
My wife gave the DVD version for Christmas because she knows I'm a huge Bobby Darin fan.
All I can say is - the proof that I am a huge Bobby Darin fan is that I watched "Beyond the Sea" and I'm still a huge Bobby Darin fan.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Beyond The Sea Was Not Only Uplifting, But It Was Entertaining To!!! BTS Was An Excellent Film. Kevin Spacey Needs To Win Tons Of Awards For This Movie!!! It Was Incredible. SPOILER AHEAD>>>>> My Favorite Part Was When Sandy And Darin Had A Fight And Were Racing To See Who Would Leave First. This Movie Is The Best Movie I Have Seen In.....Well Almost Forever. It Was A Very Demanding Role But Spacey Pulled It Off. The Scene Were He Is At Polly's Funeral Was Very Convincing!!! This Movie Is The Perfect Film For All Ages. I LOVED It. I Gave It A 110 Out Of 10!!! The Dance Scenes Were Very Colerfull And Exiting!!! The Best Dance Scene For Me Was When He Sang Beyond The Sea. It Was Fantastic!!! Any Bad Reviews You Have Read Are All Wrong In My Opinion:) GO SEE "BEYOND THE SEA"!!!
Loved the movie... Only had one problem. The girl playing Sandra Dee wasn't a convincing Sandra Dee. Not only did she not resemble her but her actions and speaking was nothing like Sandra Dee. On the other hand Kevin Spacey had Bobby Darin down perfect. Even his singing sounded identical. He did a great job... I loved the movie. It reminded me of the old movie musicals. Hope more movies are made like this one. Wake up Hollywood... This is what the older people want to see. Remember there are a lot of Baby Boomers out there. The songs were great and brought back lots of memories of my high school days. Kevin Spacey deserves an Oscar for this one.Am so sorry neither the movie or Kevin Spacey were chosen to be honored with an Oscar Nomination.
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