Across The Universe is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and animation, the film is paired with many songs by The Beatles that defined the time. Written by
The following items are a list of references to songs by The Beatles:
The title of the movie, and many of the characters are named after various songs: Lucy, Jude, Max (Maxwell) Sadie, Mr. Kite, Dr. Robert, Prudence, JoJo, Rita.
"Helter Skelter" is heard in the pre-title montage, and is also a reference to the scattered method that the scenes are shown.
"Doctor Robert": When Jude, Lucy, and Max are at the party for Doctor Robert (portrayed by Bono) they are seen drinking from a bowl of unknown liquid. This is a reference to the lyric, "Take a drink from his special cup, Doctor Robert."
"Get Back": A voice is heard yelling "Get Back!" when Sadie leaves the stage during "Oh! Darling".
"Strawberry Fields Forever": During the Thanksgiving dinner scene, Lucy's and Max's grandmother remarks that "the cranberry sauce isn't as tangy as last year," referencing the use of the words "cranberry sauce" uttered by John (which was often misheard as "I buried Paul," adding to the myth that Paul was dead.)
"Maxwell's Silver Hammer": At college, Max generally goofs off and causes trouble. This is a reference to the song lyric, "Back in school again/Maxwell plays the fool again." Also, when Max and Jude first meet Sadie, she says they seem harmless, then looks at Max and says, "Then again, you coulda murdered your granny with a hammer." Max is later seen "fixing" a fan with a hammer.
"Ob-La-Di, Ob-La-Da": The name Molly (Jude's Liverpool girlfriend) alludes to Molly in the song.
"The Word": When discussing Dr. Robert's bus Sadie's manager says "Spread the word".
"A Day In The Life": When Jeff Beck's instrumental cover of "A Day In The Life" plays, Jude is reading a newspaper - a reference to the lyric, "I read the news today, oh boy."
"I Want You": The famous Uncle Sam recruitment poster is animated to illustrate the song.
"Martha My Dear": Jude's mother's name is Martha.
"Lovely Rita": Prudence's friend's name is Rita.
"Sexy Sadie": Though the character of Sadie is a reference to Janis Joplin, it is also a reference to this song.
"Get Back": While JoJo's character is a reference to Jimi Hendrix, it is also a reference to "Get Back" (particularly the first line "JoJo was a man who thought he was a loner/But he knew it wouldn't last.")
"Revolution 9": The number of the building where the rooftop concert takes place is #9.Also when Lucy is trapped in the phone booth,and the glass is shattered there is a pattern in the shape of the number 9 in the cracks,
"Hello Goodbye": After Prudence enters through the bathroom window, Jude greets her saying "Hello, hello" which can be seen as a reference to "Hello Goodbye" (which was called Hello Hello by McCartney while he was writing it).
"She Came In Through the Bathroom Window": When Prudence first enters the apartment through the window, Jude comments "She came in through the bathroom window."
"When I'm Sixty-Four": The shipyard employee that gives Jude his paycheck says he thought he'd be doing something different when he was sixty-four.
When Jude is on the beach in the "Blackbird" sequence, the wind turbines in The Mersey Estuary can be seen. See more »
Is there anybody going to listen to my story all about the girl who came to stay? She's the kind of girl you want so much, it makes you sorry. Still, you don't regret a single day. Aw, girl. Girl...
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It's very hard to describe, because I wouldn't classify it as a traditional musical. It's not set up so that there's a scene, then a song, then a scene again; everything just flows seamlessly. Wonderful acting from all of the cast,with some great improv from Bono and Eddie Izzard. Definitely standout performances from Dana Fuchs (who has the most AMAZING voice), Martin Luther, and TV Carpio. Also a nice cameo by Salma Hayek, who apparently asked Julie Taymor if there was a part for her in the movie, and when Julie told her that she could be one of the nurses, Salma replied "ONE of the nurses, Julie?"
Overall an excellent film. Taymor fans will definitely appreciate it (it has a lot of her traditional colorful imagery, masks, and puppets). I'm planning on seeing it a few more times just to take it all in. It's certainly going to be a film you have to see more than once to really appreciate.
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