The life of crooner/actor Bobby Darin is presented as part fact, part fiction and much fantasy. It is framed around a biopic being filmed about and starring Darin as himself, with he being surrounded by many of his lifelong entourage from the Bronx. In that fantasy, the young actor portraying him as a child in the biopic emerges as his true younger self, questioning, knowing all, if his adult self wants the biopic to be all sugar and roses, as is the want of his manager, Steve Blauner, or if he wants to tell the truth. Regardless, what is presented of his life includes: his sickly childhood - where he was not expected to survive past his teens - with his vaudevillian mother, Polly Cassotto, his musical mentor, and his much older sister, Nina Cassotto, both who ultimately lived vicariously through his fame; his early singing career where the ultimate goal was not to rival but surpass the fame of Frank Sinatra; the meeting of who would become his wife, already famous actress Sandra Dee ...Written by
In reality Bobby Darin was with Robert F. Kennedy during the campaign when Kennedy was shot, and in fact in the same hotel where/when it happened. "Beyond the Sea" had him in his trailer at Big Sur when he gets the news on the radio. See more »
It's OK, I'm not gonna hurt you. Watch. My momma used to tell me a story when I was a kid that in the Middle Ages, one of the knights in King Arthur's court, he laid down his sword between himself and Guinevere, and he promised that he would never cross over to the other side.
I am laying down this sword between us. That's my side of the bed, and that's yours, and I will never cross over. Ever. I don't care if we don't touch for a thousand nights. Only you can cross over to my side. Only ...
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During the end credits we see Kevin Spacey performing another song. In the background there are lines moving to the music. See more »
Bobby Darin was a great singer and entertainer. And his untimely death at age 37 was most unfortunate. But, aside from one interesting revelation about his parents, I'm not sure that his life was any more deserving of a film than dozens of other singers and entertainers from the fifties and sixties. The fact that "Beyond The Sea" is mostly a musical tribute rather than a traditional biography suggests a lack of substantive material on which to base a two hour movie.
The film's complex structure is unusual, in that the adult Darin (Kevin Spacey) talks with himself as a child (William Ullrich) and the two of them, via flashbacks and fantasy, direct a movie about the adult's life. It is an interesting, though at times confusing, structural approach.
What I liked most about the film is the music. Spacey himself sings the songs. And he does a terrific job with the big band sounds of "Dream Lover", "Artificial Flowers", "Some Of These Days", "Beyond The Sea" and, of course, "Mack The Knife". The film's secondary performances are quite good, especially John Goodman. Production design is high quality, and the dance routines are well staged.
Overall, listening to Darin's songs was great. But I would have preferred a more traditional, linear biography. This movie reinforces the perception that talented performers who die young are more likely to get film tributes than talented performers who live to an old age. Maybe, in some way, Hollywood feels guilty at the premature loss. Or, maybe, an early death makes the entertainer, over time, seem more idealized.
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