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
Early versions of the script had a character named Sgt. Pepper, with "Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" set to accompany his scene. The character was scrapped as the script was finalized for production. See more »
During the "Strawberry Fields Forever" sequence, when Jude first starts to paint the big strawberry, his right arm is behind his head before he starts to paint. His arm crosses his body to the left and when the camera shot is zoomed out, his right arm is behind his head again. 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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... to have been able to see this film in the beautiful Elgin Theatre with Julie Taymor there to answer questions / talk about the film afterwards (at the Toronto International Film Festival).
I was carried away, I was moved to tears, I stood up and cheered.
For those who commented about the singing - the actors sang all the songs themselves. What's more, though they did record the songs in studio first as part of the rehearsal process, most of the song performances used in the film were recorded live as they played out the scenes. Perhaps that's why - for me - the songs worked so well; it actually felt like the characters were just moved to sing. Amazing performances from - mainly - unknown actors.
And I felt the story had a strong narrative line, aided / supported by the songs. It used the background of history, not just as a painted backdrop, but to add meaning and depth to the characters and the story they were living. Made me wish I'd been there (born in '65, too young to remember the 60's); I'll have to content myself with living vicariously through Jude and Lucy and the others.
Add to everything else Julie Taymor's glorious visuals, and I was truly swept away. I saw 36 films at the festival, but this was head and shoulders my favourite.
I fell in love with this film, and look forward to sharing it with friends and family who didn't have the luck to see it as I did. It's a film that will, I'm sure, reward repeated viewings.
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