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All those long-winded criticisms and comments out there --- there are
only two important points:
Bobby Darin was a musical genius and a great showbiz performer!
Kevin Spacey is a musical genius and a great showbiz performer!
Of course, Spacey loved Darin. Of course, it's a vanity project. Of course, there are historical inaccuracies --- it's a movie, for God's sake. Do you think Gregory Peck's portrayal of Douglas Macarthur was accurate? Did you imagine that Joachim Phoenix's role as Johnny Cash would cover every single aspect of the man's life in a mere two hours? "Beyond The Sea" is great --- a great, very creative movie about a great, long-forgotten performer.
While I type this comment, I am listening to Bobby's sensitive, versatile voice while he sings "Things" ---- a tribute to Darin's gifts of composition, vocal abilities and a tendency to incorporate his lifetime experiences into his own songs.
This movie will become better, and more respected, as time goes by.
Kevin Spacey is everything, including Bobby Darin, in "Beyond the Sea,"
a biography of the young man who set himself up as the next Sinatra -
and indeed, might have been - had it not been for his early death.
Darin was a cocky kid with a great presence and oodles of talent. The
essence of Vegas cool, his singing style was as slick as it was
thrilling, and in his short career he had many hits, "Beyond the Sea"
being just one. His rendition of "Mack the Knife" is classic.
Spacey portrays Bobby in this exuberant film that celebrates the life of this great singer. He directed, produced, and contributed to the script as well. His motives for making this film were several-fold - he wanted people to remember Darin's music and talent, and he probably wanted to showcase his own remarkable abilities, as he does his own singing.
Though the structure is a bit jarring at times, this is a wonderful movie, filled with fantastic music and musical numbers that absolutely soar. Spacey's voice is fantastic, and he copies Darin's style beautifully. The music makes "Beyond the Sea" a real feast. Darin's real-life story is also compelling. Like Sinatra, he never accepted second-best for himself and moved fast, knowing that he had been living on borrowed time since he was 15 due to a heart condition. After a family secret is revealed, he never really bounced back and died when he was 36.
Much has been written about Spacey's age and that this is a vanity production. Spacey tried to get financing for this movie for something like ten years; after the death of his mother, it finally happened, and he believes that she helped him get the film produced. So "Beyond the Sea" meant a great deal to him, and kudos to Spacey for having a dream and not giving it up. We should applaud someone who doesn't quit instead of writing him off with, this is a vanity production.
Despite his excellent performance, Spacey's age gets in the way. In my own opinion, this was completely unnecessary. I assume he allowed it to happen because he figured he was just too old and everyone was going to have to live with it. Inexcusable. This is no small budget movie, and we're talking about the Land of Illusion here. Certainly some attention to lighting, a softer lens, better makeup and some face tape could have easily removed 10 years from Spacey. Orson Welles had to live down the fact that he wasn't as handsome as he appeared in parts of "Citizen Kane" because of the flawless way he looked. The time and care taken to light and make up actresses is legendary. I can't believe, as one who has been before the cameras and in the hands of makeup and lighting people myself, that some years couldn't have been knocked off of Spacey's appearance.
The rest of the performances are very good, with Greta Scacchi a standout as Sandra Dee's pushy mother. Kate Bosworth is good as Dee and, in this writer's opinion, prettier.
"Beyond the Sea" is a first class production all around. As one who remembers Darin, it's heavenly - and a reminder that heaven robbed us of a significant talent way too early.
Knew nothing about Bobby Darin before going in but Kevin Spacey's spell-binding performance made me feel like I'd known Mr. Darin all my life.
Spacey is brilliant in this, his voice is superb and in my opinion he pulls off Darin extremely well.
Immediately after watching the film I looked up Darin online and found Spacey's physical resemblance in the movie was very accurate not to mention his vocal similarities extraordinary.
Highly recommended, tight acting, great music and Kevin Spacey tour-de-force.
Kevin Spacey, a purported major fan of Bobby Darin goes all the way on
this one, he produces, directs, acts, sings and dances, all fairly
competently. Unfortunately he also co-writes an abominable screenplay,
resulting in a great disservice to Darin. It's as if the screen writers
did a quick search on "Bobby Darin", came up with a few lines about his
life and strung them together in a shabby, cliché ridden fashion.
There's not even an attempt to look beneath what was surely a complex
Darin was not a great singer but he certainly had some charm. In "Beyond the Sea" he comes off distinctly unlikable and totally devoid of any charm. Spacey plays him as a constantly petulant and frustrated person. Ironically Spacey, a reputable actor demonstrates a total lack of subtlety in this atrocious script. It would seem he just wanted to show the word that he can sing and dance and that that would carry the movie. The screenplay is merely filler for the Kevin Spacey show.
I recently watched "Pressure Point", a movie from 1962 in which Darin reveals a startling and surprising acting ability. It's a powerful and sensitive portrayal. Spacey, despite his mighty reputation goes for mimicry rather than creating a character. It's a talent he's often displayed on various talk shows. While fun for a few minutes, mimicry cannot withstand an entire movie.
Kevin Spacey can sing. It's a nice surprise and yet it must be said, he has a distinctly forgettable voice and seldom really hits home. The only song in which approaches being a singer, rather than someone who can sing, is "The Curtain Falls". When Diana Ross sang as Billie Holiday in "Lady Sings the Blues" it was not a case of imitation. She's no Billie Holiday, but she is a singer who put her own personal stamp on the music.
Spacey on this embarrassing ego trip surrounds himself with characters so badly written that even veterans such as Bob Hoskins and John Goodman are made to look ridiculous. Others come off even worse.
From watching "Beyond the Sea" one learns a whole lot more about Kevin Spacey than one does about Bobby Darin. Skip this lesson.
As far as biopics go it's up there with "Mommie Dearest".
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Kevin Spacey, a long time fan of Bobby Darin, pulls out all the stops
for this entertaining biopic of late performer's life. Darin was a
singer and actor with a definite interest in politics, who was beset by
a critical heart condition that threatened to take his life before he
turned 30. Spacey's dynamic, energetic portrayal elevates this film
above the many star bio movies out there. His vocals are remarkably
similar to that of Darin and you can feel the enthusiasm behind every
note. His performance and direction is so effective (although a
Brooklyn accent would have been nice) that at times it is easy to
overlook the fact that he is too old to play Bobby, with the glaring
exception in his scenes with Kate Bosworth, as Sandra Dee, the teen
sweetheart of 1960s America. They share a good chemistry, but the age
difference is a bit distracting at times. Also, Bosworth, as talented
as she is, was something of a disappointment to me in her performance.
Dee had the most adorable voice, with a tinge of her native New Jersey;
Bosworth does not even attempt this, and some of the wigs she wore were
absolutely horrible (not her fault) - particularly the longer one we
see as Bobby carries her over the threshold - I've seen photos that
were taken on their wedding day and the clothing and hairstyles are not
accurate at all. Sandra's fear on their wedding night, touchingly
vulnerable as it is, is not really expanded upon - those of us who are
familiar with her life know that she was sexually abused by her
stepfather will catch the significance but others won't. The "Come
September" recreation scene involving the wishbone doesn't bear much of
a resemblance to the actual scene from that film - as a Darin fan,
Spacey could have been much more meticulous (Darin wore a black bow
tie, not a white one, to the 1963 Oscar ceremony), Sandra's drinking
problem is barely touched upon, her anorexia and miscarriages not even
mentioned. I also don't agree with the voice-over, stating that the
films he and Sandra made together were "dogs". Also the presence of
Sandra's mother, Mary Douvan (Greta Schacci) in their lives, is very
much downplayed - she would eventually move in with her daughter and
son-in-law after they married, no doubt contributing to their marital
The songs that Spacey chose to define their love for each other are achingly appropriate - Dream Lover, Beyond The Sea, and the most moving Once Upon A Time - it really sums up the strong emotional attachment that Darin and Dee had for one another, although they couldn't live together. Sandra Dee died in 2005 and she loved Bobby to her dying day, as confirmed by their son, Dodd "Moose" Darin.
Bobby Darin struggles to reach the top and to be somebody before he turns 25, if he lives that long. His grandmother, Polly (Brenda Blethyn), whom he believes to be his mother, encourages him, as does his brother-in-law, Charlie Maffia (Bob Hoskins), and his manager, Steve "Boom-boom" Blauner (John Goodman), and when he finally becomes a top charter with his hits "Splish Splash" and "Mack The Knife" he continues to reach out into other venues, to appeal to a mass audience, and also becomes an effective actor, scoring an Oscar nomination for "Captain Newman, M.D.". With the changing of the times in the late 60s, his marriage to Sandra crumbles and he finds himself trying to catch up with the political tide and the devastating consequences of the Vietnam war. As he begins his comeback, "the curtain falls". Even more devastating is his discovery that his "sister" Nina Maffia (Caroline Aaron), is actually his mother. There is a tear-inducing moment in the film where he acknowledges her as such on stage, but in real life, that actually never occurred. A special mention must go to William Ulrich, who plays Bobby as a little boy - his interactions with the adult Darin bring a deeper understanding of the conflicting emotions and demons of Bobby, trying to do everything, and be everything to everybody.
His brief remarriage in 1973, important friendships he formed (with Sammy Davis Jr, Dick Clark, George Burns and much more) and his bittersweet romance with Connie Francis don't even get a mention, but even without that, this movie hits the right chord and leaves a wonderful, poignant afterglow of this incandescent personality and the great love of his life.
"But somehow once upon a time, never comes again . . . . . . . . ."
I am a huge fan of both Bobby Darin and Kevin Spacey. I have watched this movie at least 10 times and I love every part of it. I did have my doubts about Kevin Spacey playing the part, but no longer. He was superb. His acting, his singing, and his dancing were perfect. His portrayal of Bobby Darin was right on the mark without trying to imitate his every move. The boy who played him was great and it was a great way of telling the story. His comment of "memories are like moonbeams" was also perfect. I totally love all of Bobby Darins songs but the 2 from the movie that I loved the most were The Curtain Falls and a Simple Song Of Freedom. I cry at the end of the movie thinking he is gone but I do agree that as long as people listen to his music he will always stay alive. I also loved the love story of Bobby and Sandra Dee. No matter what I do believe that they loved each other to the very end. So to those who say they did not like this movie then you have no idea what a great movie is. Kevin Spacey did a great thing with this movie and he is to commended for it. HE WAS GREAT>>>>>>>
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Until I watched this movie, I had no idea who Bobby Darin was. In fact
I didn't even know he existed. I had previously thought that songs such
as "Beyond the Sea" and "Mack the Knife" were in fact Frank Sinatra
songs (later I found out that Sinatra only did cover versions of what
were Darin original songs). So because I had no idea who Darin was, I
didn't know if I was going to like watching this film. But Kevin Spacey
is one of my favourite actors and I figured "what the heck".
After watching it, all I can say is "WOW!". Mr Spacey, you took my breath away.
For a start, that dude sure can sing (Sinatra, eat your heart out). That's no dubbing you hear - that's Kev's actual voice. I really hope that one day he releases his own album and if he does, I'll be first in line to buy it. With a good set of lungs on the man and a wonderful supporting cast (especially Bob Hoskins), this is a movie to keep and to watch over and over again.
The best part has to be his comeback performance concert in Las Vegas where he sings a rousing rendition of his anti-Vietnam song "Simple Song of Freedom". It's an emotional scene in what turns out to be Darin's last ever performance before his premature death from heart complications, and Kevin gives it everything he's got. By the end, the audience is dancing and in tears. Kevin looks like he's about to start crying himself and believe me, I wasn't far off it either.
In the past few years, many movies have been made about the life of famous singers (such as Johnny Cash and Ray Charles). But "Beyond the Sea" stands supreme. Superb acting, superior music and an absolutely superior actor in the form of Mr Kevin Spacey. Take a bow Mr Spacey. Bobby Darin is smiling on you from heaven. You did him proud.
Watch the movie once and you'll like it. Watch it again, and you'll
The orchestration is just fantastic. Kevin Spacey captures the feel of Bobby Darin, without exactly impersonating Bobby Darin. He moves like Bobby Darin, and he sings "like" Bobby Darin, but he's clearly not Bobby Darin -- in many ways, he's better than Bobby Darin!
I now put the movie in the DVD player and play it like a music CD. I also have the album from the movie, but the way the movie blends dialog with songs makes the DVD better than the album.
Clearly I like the music, but the story isn't bad either. I've never been a Bobby Darin fan, I've never been a Kevin Spacey fan, but I sure am a "Beyond the Sea" fan. This is an easy to watch, compelling, interesting, well-edited movie. Okay, there was one thing I didn't like: I didn't enjoy watching a Cadillac -- was it a '62? -- get beat with a golf club.
From a story point, it helps to watch the movie a second time to better understand the reactions of the people who know what Bobby, and the audience, don't learn until late in the movie.
I loved the movie Beyond the Sea; Kevin Spacey was tender and romantic and he sang beautifully. I keep playing the sound track over & over again. I was a teenager in the 60's and the movie about Bobby Darin really moved me. I felt that Kevin Spacey was really Bobby Darin; I find Spacey to be dreamy and very sexy in his own right. I was right there going through Bobby Darin's life; as a teenager I also had rheumatic heart, I will definitely being seeing all of Kevin Spacey's movies and any of his work that I can. I'd love to meet him in person. I also loved him in the movie Midnight of Garden and Good & Evil. I rank him along with other leading men such as: Rock Hudson, Cary Grant, Dean Martin,and Frank Sinatra, I must admit I am smitten by Kevin Spacey.
I loved Beyond the Sea. I never once thought Kevin was too old to play this part. I am now a Kevin Spacey fan. He did a fantastic job of singing and not to mention dancing. Doris Day and Fred Astaire were always my favorites so you can imagine why I loved this movie.I always loved musicals when I was a kid so it was a like a breath of fresh air when this movie came along. The only part I didn't like was how they portrayed his sister/mother. They made her look like a slob with her big hair and too much make-up. Not to mention her loudness. Not until the last sense did she look half decent. I mean come on she couldn't have looked that bad back then. I'm so tired of violence, sex and cheating in the movies. Thank you Kevin for making this movie. I laughed I cried and I sang!!! What more could you ask for?
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