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Spacey's performance seals the deal
robertjspence11 September 2004
This film just premiered a few hours ago at the film festival here in Toronto. Kevin Spacey, Bob Hoskins and Kate Bosworth were in attendance. It was a gala event. Having said that I was very nervous about the success of a film where one guy not only produces, stars in, directs, co-writes but also does his own singing. Well, the guy pulled it off beautifully. The structure takes a little getting used to. It opens with Spacey playing Darin starring in a biopic of his own life. When a reporter walks up to him and says: "Don't you think you are a little old to be playing a guy in his twenties?" I started to feel relieved. Spacey obviously was aware that this was a potential problem in the way viewers might view his starring role and he chose to deal with it straight on instead of avoiding it. The plot is not important in this film. Rather, what the movie is about is capturing the energy and drive of Darin himself and, perhaps most important, the urgency with which he lived his life. Darin knew from a very young age that his life would likely be cut short due to a heart condition. And that simply drove him to do the best he could, and to do it as quickly as possible. Spacey's singing talent is a wonder to behold. Without actually imitating Darin, he manages to capture Darin's charisma and stage presence and well as his singing characteristics and mannerisms. While I never forgot that it was Spacey I was watching, I found his performance to be entirely believable. It was obvious that Spacey, the actor, thoroughly loved what he was doing and that every ounce of his being and all of his energy had been invested into this role. This man is a multi-talented individual who tackled a very difficult project and somehow managed to pull it off - beautifully. Highly recommended!
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Beyond the Ordinary
Rogue-321 January 2005
I've been a fan of Walden Robert Cassotto's for a long, long time, and I've been following the progress (or non-progress) of the bio-pic based on his life for an equally long time (couldn't have been any more pleased when I learned that Kevin Spacey was going to be the one to finally bring the project to the proverbial light of day). I'm mentioning this because I realize it's impossible for me to be completely objective about the movie, feeling about its subject as strongly as I do; I think that anyone who loved Bobby Darin cannot be thoroughly objective regarding Spacey's film.

That having been said, I can tell you that I was profoundly affected by Beyond The Sea. Spacey lives up to his surname in spades with this project, by tossing out all the 'normal' bio-pic story-telling tools, instead resorting to a spaced-out show biz fantasy-type structure which does work because Bobby himself did use his career as an antidote against the reality of his ever-failing health and inevitable early death - his overwhelming drive and beyond-intense focus stemmed from the fact that he knew he had only so much time to do anything with his life; this is what made him so great on stage, and this immediacy and strength of purpose is conveyed brilliantly in the movie not through the usual talking and explaining sequences but rather through Darin's actions. So the liberties that Spacey takes with Bobby's life pay off - the song-and-dance numbers and the plot devices (the best one being Darin's younger self having a simultaneous part in the proceedings with the older Darin).

So much has been written about Spacey being too old to play Bobby, how Spacey shouldn't have actually sung the songs himself, how this is a vanity project on Spacey's part, blah blah blah. All untrue.

The clever way in which he stages the film acknowledges the fact that he knows he's chronologically older than the perfect age to play this part, and he sings the songs himself because he CAN - his voice is more than serviceable; in fact when I saw the trailer for the first time a few months back and heard him singing Mack The Knife I was in the theatre telling the person I'd come with "That's Bobby, that can't possibly be Kevin Spacey" - this from a person who has listened to Darin's recording of that song literally hundreds and hundreds of times.

The thing that is most interesting about the negative criticism is the one about this being a vanity project for Spacey; his desire and enthusiasm to share his feeling for Darin via this project is being interpreted as an ego trip, when in reality it's an unabashed and pure labor of love. The film is being misunderstood by a lot of people, and I see this as being unbelievably ironic and, ultimately, proof that the film works because Darin himself was constantly misunderstood, constantly having his hell-bent-for-leather, no-time-to-waste desperation perceived as arrogance. So Spacey succeeded on that level alone.

It also doesn't hurt that from the back, he manages to bear an uncanny resemblance to Bobby, he captures the physicality perfectly, and in all the shots that are not too close up, you'd swear it was Bobby that you were seeing and not Spacey. It's only in the close-ups that I was reminded it wasn't actually Bobby on the screen, and in the later scenes, when he becomes politically aware, grows the mustache and bills himself as Bob Darin, Spacey looks like him even in the close-ups.

By the end of the film, I found myself feeling profoundly moved by what I was experiencing, even though, oddly enough, I didn't feel up to that point that the film was particularly profound, and so my reaction was very surprising to me. There's a scene where -=- POSSIBLE SPOILER -=- Darin is in his hospital bed right before he dies and Sandra Dee (who was no longer with him at that time but still loved him) is in the bed cuddled up beside him - that image was, to me, by far the single most powerful one in the movie, and it has stayed with me, long after the movie's final credits. -=-END OF POSSIBLE SPOILER

I want to include this: the person I saw the film with hadn't been a fan of Bobby's the way I had for years, and I asked her after we'd left the theatre if she'd felt moved by what she'd experienced - I was trying to get a more objective idea how the movie would play to someone who wasn't so emotionally connected to the material. She said that after seeing it, she wanted to know more about Bobby, how she'd had no idea what he'd gone through in his life and how she felt tremendous compassion and respect for him.

Spacey has said that his motivation in doing the movie was to remind people who hardly remembered him what a monumental talent Bobby Darin was, and to hopefully introduce a new generation to the man. I think he's succeeded on that level too, at least with people who go to see this movie with an open mind and a receptive heart.
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An Excellent Tribute By A Fan, For Fans of Bobby Darin
Richard Adams1 January 2005
I've been a big fan of Bobby Darin's music for decades, particularly his renditions of standards and I have to agree with Gene Shalit on this, Kevin Spacey nails as best he can, without plastic surgery the late great singer. The film is, as Spacey says in the film, a fantasy and works on many levels, beginning with an attempt at a biographical picture and disecting his life through his eyes and through the eyes of a wary young man. Bob Hoskins as Darin's brother in law, Caroline Aaron as his sister, John Goodman as his manager and Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee all give excellent performances, without which I may have agreed with some other critics. As is, it's a strong performance and most of the critics who panned this film should reconsider who they think _their_ audience is. At 200 minutes, I never felt it was long and enjoyed the musical scores throughout. Thank you, Mr. Kevin Spacey, for a fine film I'll watch again and again. You should consider cutting an album of your own.
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Beyond the Sea is as much about Kevin Spacey as it is Bobby Darin.
jdesando17 December 2004
If you can overcome what I can't, you will enjoy Beyond the Sea: Kevin Spacey is too old to play Bobby Darin, the 50's pop singer who died from long-term effects of rheumatic heart at 37. At times Spacey is playing Darin in his twenties when no matter how you tighten and pin Spacey's face, he is still a 44-year old man with all the lovely creases and bags time awards. The dislocation bothered me so that I couldn't fully appreciate what is otherwise an outstanding performance.

But then Spacey is the director, so he has to be responsible for miscasting (or put another way, why didn't he do this 10 years ago when no one on this planet could have denied that he is the perfect Darin?). As John Irving said in "My Movie Business" about the choice of actors, "Looks do count." Although others have criticized Beyond the Sea as a Spacey vanity project, I found his performance believable and engaging with style appropriate to the best lounge singers of the time (Sinatra included) and spot-on perfect for Darin, if not better than the original. I've heard Spacey is touring with his band to promote this biopic; I'd go just to enjoy Spacey as a gifted singer.

The only moments to get past the many Darin songs and into his life are those centering on the influence of his "mother" (Brenda Blethyn, "Secrets and Lies") and his marriage to Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth). In the former, Blethyn does a bit of singing and dancing to show that Spacey is not the only multi-talent on the set. In the latter, the pop- culture lite of their romance is handled believably, as one might try to do David Beckham and his spicey love, a marriage just a vacuous and emblematic as the Darins'.

The irony of Sandra's mother wanting her to go after Rock Hudson rather than Darin brings laughter, intended for sure, as the audience is aware of Spacey's contending with rumors about being gay. Even jokes about Darin's toupee resonate with Spacey's own rugs in real life and for this part. Spacey doesn't take himself as seriously as critics do (witness an early scene where in the framing device of Darin filming his own life, he is accused of being too old to play himself).

The conjunction of subject and biographer is challenging at best. Paul Murray Kendall in "The Art of Biography" says, "On the trail of another man, the biographer must put up with finding himself at every turn: any biography uneasily shelters an autobiography within it." In that sense, Beyond the Sea is as much about Kevin Spacey as it is Bonny Darin.

This biopic ranks third next to Ray and De-Lovely; in another less-full year, it would be the best.
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Potentially Interesting Biopic....Turned Into Cheesy Musical!!!
BVavs5 May 2007
Warning: Spoilers
For anyone who knows an iota more about the achievements and credentials of 1960's crooner Bobby Darin, besides the fact he's the "Splish Splash" guy; should be nothing short of insulted that Kevin Spacey would transform,what should have been an interesting biopic about an accomplished musician, into a bloated,unnecessarily cheesy, musical.

As we dive face first into the facts about the real Bobby Darin, one can appreciate the inner strength he possessed to stare down death (in the form of rheumatic fever) and prove every doctor who diagnosed him with a hopeless prognosis, wrong. Combined with the drive and emotional dexterity it took to deliver a fresh face in a dying breed of crooning, and turn it into success. These two factual tidbits of information, is legitimate reason to create a film regarding the aforementioned. Combined, with the talents of acting debonair-es, like Spacey, Hoskins, and Goodman; intertwined with Kevin's uncanny ability, at certain times, to take the directorial reigns; this film had the initial potential to compare itself to the likes of "Ray", and "Walk the Line".

Unfortunately for everyone involved, this movie falls completely flat on a number of levels.

First of all, there is a distinct difference in performing your characters songs during times when your character would actually have performed them (I.E. during a live show), and singing your character's songs, in hopes to help tell the story. "Beyond the Sea" chooses the latter, and for no reason whatsoever, spontaneously breaks out into song and dance whenever Spacey feels the need to kill about 10 minutes. I would have understood the logic behind this approach, if Spacey opted to title this film "Beyond the Sea.....THE MUSICAL"! That would have at least justified his actions. However, as it stands, the movie passes through different phases of Darin's life with unexplainable, frequent interruptions of sonic cheese and corny choreography. Is this how the real Bobby Darin lead his life? While spending years of his childhood, on the brink of death, only to lapse every now and then into an uncontrollable urge to arise from his bed, and whimsically prance in unison with his family, and neighborhood yokels? I think not.

Secondly, Kate Bosworth as Sandra Dee, is a perfect example of how an inappropriate casting decision leads to disaster. Just picturing her slowly warming up to erotic affection with a man, literally old enough to be her father, is absolutely grotesque. Watching these two falling in love can concisely be compared to accidentally discovering your 40 year old next door neighbor is having intercourse with your teenage daughter....Yes, it's that disgusting. Not to mention the fact, that Bosworth's acting capabilities are simply not honed enough to capture the fiery personality that the real Sandra Dee possessed. To put it bluntly, it's a sure fire miss....A distinct error by the casting department, and by Kevin Spacey.

In conclusion, there isn't any question that Kevin Spacey is a true fan of Bobby Darin, some may even applaud his efforts to tell his story using this decisively different approach. But when it comes down to it, the only thing redeeming about this picture, is a few brief moments of comic relief from Goodman, and the ever-present fact that Bosworth is easy on the eyes. (Even with a beehive hairdo) Other than that, I truly hope the written critique I have given is enough to at least warn you about what you're getting yourself into if you decide to invest 2 hours of your life to watch this bloated-mess-of-a-film. I mean that with utmost sincerity.
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jhammar4 January 2005
For those who cannot "suspend disbelief" in order to enjoy a musical, this movie, and my review, are not for you. For the rest of us, "Beyond the Sea" is a delight.

I read critics who said Kevin Spacey is too old to pull off a 20-something Bobby Darin. Wrong! Kevin Spacey's acting captures the essence of BD; after the first ten minutes of the movie it seemed that Kevin Spacey WAS Bobby Darin irrespective of age. I also read critics who said Spacey's dancing was stiff and awkward. Wrong! The production numbers were fabulous. His singing, acting, dancing were awesome, and it's a performance that should not be short-changed in this year's awards' season (although I fear it might be overlooked).

Kate Blodgett, too, did a great job of portraying Sandra Dee (but I wish they had kept her hairstyles more true to Sandra Dee of the 1960's).

My only disappointment is that so many important details about Bobby Darin's life were quickly glossed over or totally omitted. For example, there was no mention of his early years in the Pocono's; his unfulfilled romance with Connie Francis; his friendship with Dick Clark; his songwriting collaboration with Don Kirshner; and his subsequent marriage after divorcing Sandra Dee.

Nevertheless, I loved "Beyond the Sea" and plan to see it again this week. I'm afraid it won't still be in the theaters next week. It almost appears as though some of Hollywood and the newsprint critics have dissed it with almost a jealousy toward Kevin Spacey's Herculean efforts to bring this to the screen, not to mention his compelling performance.

I don't know if it will attract a younger viewing audience; but, if you're a Baby Boomer, this is a must-see.
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Love Affair with Bobby Darin
karradiane1 January 2005
Imagine being witness to a celebration of the supremely talented Bobby Darin. Breathing life into this gifted entertainer must have been a daunting task, yet Kevin Spacey succeeded in recreating the musical high of Darin's lifework as well as allowing the viewer a glimpse of a vulnerable human being, not unlike the rest of us. I'm sure that by now you've read how Mr. Spacey's musical performance in "Beyond the Sea," was brilliant, and it was. What I'd also like to mention is the sweet tenderness he brought to the love affair between Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee; at times I felt like an eavesdropper. It was quite obvious in the way this movie was written, acted, and so beautifully directed that Kevin Spacey really likes Bobby Darin. In that, he struck a chord with the audience I watched the movie with today. We all really like Bobby Darin, too. Thank you, Kevin Spacey. Bravo!
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Kevin Spacey is the actor that seems to be able to do anything.
terri200310 December 2004
Even though he's been making movies since "Heartburn" in 1986, and most of us have probably heard of "See No Evil, Hear No Evil" from 1989, "Seven" and "The Usual Suspects" from 1995, but it wasn't until "American Beauty" came in 1999 that he became a familiar name amongst movie critics. The role also won him an Oscar.

I've been a swing/jazz fan for a long time, and I'm being hit my minor anxiety attacks when artists like Robbie Williams and recently Westlife decide to do "a swing thing" and miss the whole point about the genre. Those who call Robbie Williams a crooner know just about as much about the genre as he does. So when I heard about Kevin Spacey's project a couple of years ago, I was automatically skeptical. By then I'd already heard him sing "That Old Black Magic" from the Clint Eastwood production "Midnight In The Garden Of Good And Evil" (1997) and he had a good voice, but performed the song like a pop song. Something the above mentioned artists also have a tendency to do.

Kevin showed up at the Michael Parkinson show last month to promote the movie, and announced he'd also be singing two songs: "Beyond The Sea" and "Mack The Knife" with a live orchestra. I was nervous. Up until the point where he started singing, that was. He's spent the last 12 years making this project perfect, and has received blessings from both Sandra Dee and her son with Bobby, Dodd.

Beyond The Sea - the movie: It all kicks off when Bobby Darin (Spacey) enters the stage and sings "Mack The Knife". If you've had any preconceptions of his ability to sing or perform, this will disappear before he's reached "...pearly white..." He nearly performs the whole song, but interrupts and a director shouts "cut". In the break a journalist shouts "isn't he too old to play this role?!" after him, upon where his manager sneers, "Don't listen to him, Bobby. How can you be too old to play yourself?" It appears we're on the set of the movie where Bobby Darin plays himself. Which makes it okay that he doesn't look 20 in the early scenes.

Not far into the movie he meets Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) on the set of the Rock Hudson movie "Come September" in 1961, and a romance blossoms. A bit of back and forth later, particularly with Sandra's mother, they become a couple and marry within two months. The fact that they hardly know each other adds up to certain problems, but even though they fight like cat and dog at points, there's always the underlying affection for each other. You get the feeling that it's the ultimate romance.

It's eventually this turbulent - but heartwarming - love affair and Bobby's performances where the focus of the movie lies, with a glimpse into his political phase during the Vietnam war when he lived in the middle of nowhere on his own. This bred the song "Simple Song Of Freedom" and an attempt at a comeback with a new image. We follow him all the way up to his last performance and an alternative ending that's very, well, swing.

The Soundtrack: Not only is the movie a work of art, Kevin shows an almost unbelievable talent for the genre. He's been taking singing lessons since the late 90's, and has studies every little detail in Bobby Darin's voice and being, most on and off stage. Everything looks and sounds right.

Kevin's vibrato is perfect. Smooth, subtle and last but not least... it's done properly. Some singers don't have a clue how to do a proper vibrato and sound like they've got something stuck in their throat when attempting one, but Kevin does it brilliantly. His phrasing is also spot-on, and he's got a lung-capacity that even professional singers can envy him. Bobby Darin went through different stages, from swing to light country, and Spacey says he's spent years with Darin songs on his iPod and kept hotel guests awake at night, singing his songs. Just to get it right.

He's done everything and then some to make everything sound as perfect as possible and succeeded. The orchestra also sounds amazing, and it's wonderful to hear real instruments on a 2004 album. He recorded all songs at the Abbey Road Studios - where the Beatles put down 172 songs - with the legendary Phil Ramone producing.

Conclusion: Kevin Spacey once said that 'the less you know about me as a person, the easier it is to believe I am that person on the screen' and he's right. I don't know anything about him and I don't want to know, because when I watch "Beyond The Sea" it's not Kevin Spacey I see - but Bobby Darin.
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Give Spacey His Due Here
ccthemovieman-13 July 2006
This has been called "a labor of love" by the man responsible for this movie: Kevin Spacey. He was driving force behind this biography being put on screen, even to the point of starring in the title role. This is the most amazing aspect of them all: Spacey's imitation of singer Bobby Darin. It's unbelievable! He sounds remarkably close to how Darin sounded. He did his idol proud, that's for sure.

Those who complain that he was told old to play the part are nitpicking. I am not a personal fan of Spacey. Off-screen, I think he's a jerk. However, the criticism of him here is simply unfair. The man did an incredible job imitating Darin - period. Who could have done better?

Kate Bosworth is also very good as "Sandra Dee," the actress who married Darin. She comes across as a very positive and nice person, a lot more than Darin whose problems are shown as well as his good points. He is not always a good guy.

The language is a little rougher than I'd like to see this in this music-biography. The bits with the kid were annoying, not profound as they were obviously trying to be. In fact, the film would have ended perfectly without that last 4-5 minute scene with the child.
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More of a Spacey showcase than an absorbing biopic
Jack Malvern11 November 2004
Spacey sings. Spacey dances. Spacey wears a succession of ghastly outfits.

This biopic of Bobby Darin splits cleanly into two modes. In the first, Kevin Spacey does highly watchable singing and dancing routines. In the second, he portrays a rheumatic singer who defied doctors and male-pattern baldness to become a star.

Although the film flicks back and forth between the two modes, they never gel as one seamless story, which is a problem for a biopic of a man whose life contained only a handful of interesting events.

It doesn't help that Spacey's Darin interrupts the plot every so often by stepping back from the narrative and discussing the film with his younger self. It is a device that does little more than remind you that you are watching a film - a fact that is never far from your thoughts anyway because of the large number of somewhat contrived dance numbers.

Nor are the biographical sections very convincing. It is clear well before the extensive pre-credits disclaimer that the director has taken some diabolical liberties with Darin's life, making you wonder what you have learnt from the film. Did Darin really take his name from a half lit neon "Mandarin" sign outside a Chinese restaurant? Did he really die after a successful comeback gig in Las Vegas, or was that just a narrative invention to end on a high note?

The upshot is a film that is more a celebration of Kevin Spacey's impression of a world-renowned entertainer than a celebration of the entertainer himself.

It is a tribute to Spacey's talent as an actor that the film remains likable, not least because he doesn't have the polish of an accomplished director. Too many scenes feel as though he was too shy to make his fellow cast members do one more take.

There is enough energy on display to allow most Darin fans forgive the film's weaknesses, but the more picky viewer will feel slightly disappointed.
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Magnificent Obsession
citizen81325 December 2004
Watching Kevin Spacey's new film musical biography about the life of Bobby Darin, "Beyond the Sea", I couldn't help but think of the great film critic, Pauline Kael's assessment of Diana Ross in the film version of the 70's Black retelling of "The Wizard of Oz", "The Wiz". "Ms. Ross's insistence at the age of thirty nine of playing Dorothy age twelve in 'The Wiz'," wrote Ms. Kael, "amounts to a whim of iron." That's not to say that "Beyond the Sea" does not have merit. It does, and a lot of it. Or, that Kevin Spacey is inappropriately cast. Finally, he's not. In fact, it's hard to imagine anyone else who could bring to this part what Spacey does. But having directed as well as co-produced, co-written, starred and done all of his own singing, one cannot escape that "Beyond the Sea" is ultimately much about Spacey as it is Bobby Darin;in the same manner that "Citizen Kane" is about Orson Welles as William Randolph Heart or, a.k.a. Charles Foster Kane. Spacey's strong ties to his own mother have been reported and Bobby Darin's relationship with his mother is at the focal point of the story, as well as Sandra Dee's, Darin's wife. Both appear as intellectuals with an artist's arrogance and both relish in an often droll delivery. And both, clearly, know how to sing.

Owing some stylish influence to Fosse's "All That Jazz" and even Coppola's "One From the Heart", "Beyond the Sea" shows off Spacey's strong grasp of cinematic story telling moving between surrealism and reality, and his even stronger vocalizing ability in sounding about as close to Darin as you could expect. He moves, he struts and there are moments when he quietly strikes an uncanny pose that looks just like some of those famous record covers. What Spacey can't escape is that at forty five, he is eight years older than when Darin died. Because we are so familiar with Darin's face the difference is noticeable. For some, this may amount to an impossible suspension of disbelief, much in the same manner of last year's "The Human Stain", where many found it impossible to buy Anthony Hopkins as a fair skinned Negro.

This is a shame because Spacey's work is formidable and an impact is made. A life is realized and rendered effectively, often brilliantly and I was moved at the end. If nothing else, one looks forward to what Spacey does next, both in front of and behind the camera. No doubt, his production of Oedipus Rex would be spectacular.
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Between Ego and Ego
watbarr30 May 2006
I imagine that Bobby Daris must have been one of Kevin Spacey's fantasies or obsessions. It clearly blinded him. Much like Norma Desmond in "Sunset Boulevard" seeing herself as the young and sensual Salome. Did Kevin Spacey really believed that one line of dialog "you're too old to play yourself" was enough to redeem the fact that he was too old to play Bobby Darin? I think that age was just one of the problems. Bobby Darin's success was based, mostly, on his persona. A good singer yes, but his quirky, sexy presence did the rest. Kevin Spacey is a good actor, specially playing devious characters or insignificant people but one could hardly call him sexy. The film has some wonderful moments, terrific musical numbers, an unrecognizable and very funny Greta Scacchi as Sandra Dee's mother, but it would have been such a great, intelligent move,on Mr Spacey's part to keep himself behind the camera and find the perfect Bobby Darin to nurture the legend. Well, I assume that the portrayal of a fragile ego by an egomaniac makes some sense somewhere along the line.
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Brilliant Modern-Day Musical
jenny-23427 June 2005
This movie was absolutely brilliant. I didn't realize I was a Bobby Darin fan until seeing this movie. I picked it up because I'm a fan of both Kate Bosworth and Kevin Spacey. Now I have even more respect and am in total awe of Spacey. Not only is he a triple threat as a performer (singing, acting, and dancing) but he's a triple threat behind the camera as well (writing, producing, and directing). Kevin Spacey brought back this swinger in the most unbelievable charming and beautiful way. I am a fan of musicals and haven't seen a new musical lately that threw me off my seat like this one. I clapped at the end of this movie. I was sitting in my living room and I clapped. This movie is incredible. The actors are brilliant. The young boy that played Bobby as a child was amazing. He's going to be a huge star. Kevin Spacey, I loved this movie. I will be recommending this movie to everyone. Brilliant, brilliant, brilliant. Ten stars. Two thumbs up. Just plain brilliant.
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drowning in a sea of bad writing
forget_it_jake18 January 2005
Beyond the Sea is one of the worst films i have seen in a long while. The characters are all completely one dimensional, there isn't a shred of credible honest dialog in the entire film, Bobby Darin is not shown to have a single redeeming quality until 45 minutes into the film when the writer decided to throw in a schmaltzy, pointless one minute scene about him defending a black comedian.

Good scripts are built through positive and negative events, that eventually lead to a climax. This film goes virtually an hour with only a couple of negative events. His mother dies and it is sluffed off, and never dealt with. We never see any unconscious desire from Bobby Darin. His character just prances about, egotistically getting whatever he wants during the first half of this film. Good characters have a weak spot, they draw you in and create empathy or at least sympathy. This character had none of that.

There are so many clichés and obvious turns in this film, but what makes them even worse is the fact that they are never dealt with. We find out Sandra Dee has a drinking problem....Thats talked about for all of 5 seconds!! also, at one point, the story seems to be leading to the obvious tension of her being jealous of his career, but again they never bother to explore it, they just shelf the idea and move on to another positive beat regarding bobby darins' career.

To top it all off, in the middle of this boring story we have to put up with 5 different song interludes that stop the plot dead. 15 minutes of just sitting there in the theatre waiting for them to get on with it.

I cant for the life of me see how anyone could defend this film technically.
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This was one I hoped to like...
ArizWldcat29 August 2008
Warning: Spoilers
I can't totally pan this movie. I also can't heartily recommend it. It has its moments. The cast is spectacular (gotta love Bob Hoskins, Brenda Blethyn, Kevin Spacey, John Goodman...) and I was amused and impressed by the dance numbers. Kevin Spacey can carry a tune, but he just isn't Bobby Darin (but then, no one is...). I was listening to "Bobby Darin Swings" a couple of weeks ago and decided to go ahead and see this, even though I think I was talked out of it by its bad reviews in 2004.

Well. The story was rather hard to follow because of the plot device used (adult Bobby keeps in touch with his younger self throughout the the point where it was impossible to know things like (SPOILER)how old was young Bobby when his mother died? We don't know for sure because both the adult Bobby and the kid Bobby were at the funeral. I know, it's supposed to be artsy. IT's not meant to be a truthful retelling of the story, just kind of an image of kind of what a roundabout way that leaves the audience going "HUH?" IF that was Spacey's intent (he directed and wrote this, I think), then he succeeded. It was all just a bit weird.

Where this film (SPOILER) really goes off the rails is its portrayal of Mr. Darin's descent into wacko war protestation as some kind of heroic time in his life instead of what it was. It seems to me that that was the low point of his life and career, yet this film would have you believe that he was triumphant in his career as a result. It just doesn't seem that way to me, and probably to most rational people.

This was a mixed bag for me. It could have been good but instead was an okay flick with some cringe inducing scenes that were painful to watch. See it if you love Bobby Darin. At least there's some nice music and you'll want to come home and listen to the real thing!
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Enjoyed it!
mstomaso7 January 2007
I had some misgivings about two entertainers whose work I enjoy so much (Bobby Darin and Kevin Spacey) being combined in this biopic. Let me say up front, however, that this film exceeded my expectations by several miles.

In answer to some of the standard complaints

(1) If you think Spacey is too old to play this role, you should reconsider what the film is depicting. This film is a retrospective which looks back from the latter part of Darin's career (reminiscent of his self-referential comments in The Bobby Darin Story). He is not supposed to be young. This is also one of the reasons why so much of the narrative keys on his relationship with his younger self embodied by the actor he has picked to play himself in his autobiography.

(2) If you believe Spacey can't sing.... well.... I give up. People tend to have very narrow and hardened opinions about music - regardless of how tone deaf they may be. Spacey may not bring much originality to the singing style of Bobby Darin, but, in my opinion, he pretty much nails Darin's voice and overall style.

(3) The characters are shallow? What film did you watch? OK, Darin lead a charmed existence compared to Johnny Cash and Ray Charles. After all, he never developed a serious drug addiction, nor did he have to go through a painful divorce. And he wasn't blind. The only real tragedy in Bobby's life was being diagnosed with a terminal illness in his early teens, not knowing his parents throughout most of his life, and never living up to his own standards... minor problems compared to the "deeper" ones portrayed in other "more serious" biopics? Ya whatever. Depth does not equal self-destructiveness and depression, IMO.

This film stands as a great achievement for Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth and others. The cast is excellent, and the writing and directing are superb. The music is as entertaining as the action of the narrative, and very well blended into the story. The film achieves a powerful surrealism which is very rare for biopics and has unfortunately been neglected in most contemporary musicals, as it portrays Darin's inner and outer worlds with equal weight. Although the subject matter is very very different, Beyond the Sea's musical method reminded me of the beautiful "Dancer in the Dark".

Darin's story is a story of the profound love, dedication to craft, and the desire to be the best, which allowed a dying man to miraculously prolong his time with us for decades, and way beyond his time of death.
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Fantastic movie.
thebeatniks12 February 2006
Beautiful soundtrack, gorgeous sets and costumes, good writing, and great performances. Get the DVD, because this movie gets better the second time around.

The structure is unusual; while some may find it annoying, I find it interesting and it makes it easier to watch multiple times. It invites you into Spacey's head, and I think he's trying to put you in Darin's head. Spacey reminds us throughout that this is supposed to be the movie that Bobby Darin was making about himself, and it is easy for me to imagine that this is what a Bobby Darin autobiography would look like, as I doubt that he would have made a documentary or even a normal dramatic movie.

Thank you Kevin for making this movie. I suspect it will survive as a well respected creative endeavor, and also serves as a beautiful introduction to Darin for those who are not too familiar with him, and is an honorable tribute to him for those of us who are.

PS- I find myself wishing Kevin Spacey would hurry up and make more movies because I know his time is short. Now THAT'S typecasting!
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One of the best movies I've ever seen!
amyjp4320 November 2005
I was too young to remember much of Bobby's life but I remember his music and loved it! Keven Spacey, as usual, was wonderful. So talented in acting and singing. It took me awhile to rent this movie but now will add it to my personal DVD collection. It's worth watching over and over. I enjoyed the story of his life. I didn't know much about his marriage to Sandra Dee. I always thought they split and am happy to know that didn't happen. That she never remarried and always loved him is so comforting especially in the Hollywood atmosphere. All I remembered was that he died of a heart attack. Now I understand that he had a heart condition from rheumatic fever. Very sad that a wonderful entertainer was taken so soon in a wonderful career. And, kudos to Dodd for keeping the memory of his wonderful father and mother alive!
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Spacey is beyond of just being a good actor, the man can sing!
meeza16 September 2005
Beyond my wildest dreams did I think that respected actor Kevin Spacey had such a spectacular voice singing Bobby Darin songs in the Darin bio flick "Beyond The Sea". Spacey, who also directed and co-wrote the flick, portrays Darin with admirable flair and gusto. His acting performance was definitely the "Splish Splash" of "Beyond the Sea". The legendary Darin died of heart failure at age 37 (which is how old I am, I hope that is not a sign that I am headed beyond the grave.) "Beyond the Sea" dives into Darin's childhood, marriage to Sandra Dee, enduring heart problems, his Hollywood career, and most notably his stellar singing profession. "Beyond The Sea" did include some components that should have been "Macked the Knife" in the editing room. The young Bobby Darin scenes were cumbersome and pleonastic; it almost drowned "Beyond The Sea". I guess Director Spacey got a bit spaced out! Also, Kate Bosworth's work as Sandra Dee did not convey enough charisma for me to say "look at Kate, she's Sandra Dee". It was close to being "deescipible". All in all, the actor Spacey daring efforts and triumph should be commended for his lifelong dream of developing a Darin bio. I guess he is a "Dream Lover" after all. **** Good
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A great work and unexpectedly stirring!
geoff-2268 September 2005
I rented it because I had wanted to see it just being curious, but I was more than impressed with it. I think it's a fabulous film – I highly recommend it! Some people don't like it because: Yes, Kevin Spacey looks his age throughout the film, and is too young to play Bobby Darin in the first place, and, yes, not all of the film is factual. However, it is a movie, not a documentary. I found the whole film to be a really excellent artistic work. Kevin Spacey is fantastic! He dances, and, I'd have to look at the credits again, but I believe that is his voice on all of the numbers. Kevin Spacey might not be able to fool anyone that he is Bobby Darin, but he can sing and dance as well as anyone I've ever seen! The music is perfect; this is some serious, well-recorded, kick-ass big-band music! It's the best movie I've seen that's been made in the last few years (at least).
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One of the best of all time movies! Spacey is Tops!
mullins957139 August 2005
Warning: Spoilers
I just watched this movie - I am a Bobby Darin fan from way back and had heard that Kevin Spacey did his own singing.... groan... Boy was I shocked. Spacey's singing and dancing were superb. The entire movie played well.... a obvious labor of love by Spacey. All the actors were great in their rolls.

It is admittedly a tear jerker, but what a show. The final scenes when Bobby returned to Vegas and was doing his anti war songs that had failed him before was astounding. The church choir back-up was spine chilling. Spacey played back and forth with his childhood self and it never caused a slow down in the movie. It filled in a lot of the gaps. The little kid (Ullrich) was excellent... the final song and dance scene was fantastic.

This is a must see.... truly a statement about and a tribute to Bobby Darin as ONLY Kevin Spacey could do it!
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A nice tribute to Bobby Darin
moviemanMA1 July 2005
Kevin Spacey has directed one movie prior to his direction of Beyond the Sea (Albino Aligator) and this one is worth a viewing.

Beyond the Sea starring Kevin Spacey as the legendary vocalist Bobby Darin is a well done biopic of the singers life. His rise to stardom from life in the Bronx to his new life on the stage. Along with him are his brother in-law Charlie played by Bob Hoskins, his wife and Darin's sister Nina played by Caroline Aaron, wife Sandra Dee performed by Kate Bosworth, and John Goodman as manager "Boom Boom" Steve Blauner.

Darin struggles with a serious ailment since his childhood and continues to fight his heart problem throughout his singing career. This motivates him to live longer and pursue happiness, like Sandra Dee. No matter what the challenge, Bobby is ready to tackle it. He broke out onto the billboards with "Splish, Splash". He wanted to go onto better the Copacabana.Bobby would star in 10 movies, an Oscar nomination, seven Top-10 songs, and a family all in a span of 10 years. He had it all.

Although some parts of the movie are a little strange like some of the random dance sequences, it it tied nicely together with the making of a movie and how he interacts with the memory of his childhood.

What Spacey has given us is an enjoyable film that tells a story of a man once considered to be the greatest singer in the world. Spacey's passion for Darin goes way back to his childhood when he would listen to his parents records (see making of the movie on DVD). Spacey sings every song in the picture, dances every step, directs every scene, and even writes the script with Lewis Colick (Ladder 49, October Sky). He wanted this movie to be made to honor a great entertainer and a great person.

Spacey's hard work and determination has paid off for the whole world to see. Thanks for sharing the life of an icon.
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One of the best!
pjg1317 January 2005
Beyond the Sea is Kevin Spacey's birthright! Spacey is Bobby Darin in this movie, and perhaps it could be said that he plays Darin better than Darin. I had the opportunity to see Bobby Darin perform in Vegas, and while he was a spectacular performer and exhibited a bigger than life persona, there was some little thing missing that could have made him another Sinatra. Spacey must be Darin's soul brother, because he manages to breathe life into the real Bobby allowing him to be the warm and caring person he was. He always seemed to be a bit stand-offish, and perhaps for good reason. Spacey peels away the layers of anxiety, sadness, and aloneness in a man who was more of himself than he really needed to be. It was something that Darin tried to do, but didn't do it near as well as Spacey. Excellent directing. Excellent musical performance. Excellent acting. It should have received a Golden Globe nomination for best movie in a musical category.
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musical delight
tekethedog16 January 2005
As an old fan of Bobby Darin, I found it real easy to get past the age difference. I just closed my eyes and enjoyed the music. He captures the style and even does well on the voice. bravo! bravo! Spacy is just great, courageous undertaking. Forget the attacks on his ego. Ego is what the entertainment industry runs on anyway. I hope the portrayal of Sandra Dee wasn't too difficult for her to see; not very complimentary. Truth is probably somewhat softer. Her roles never showed her as a true adult, but old personal appearances and interviews gave her more depth. Bobby Darin WAS an egomaniac and couldn't have been easy to be around sometimes. The magic of Bobby Darin was all in his stage presence and his music.
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Loved this Movie
oldguybc16 January 2005
Saw it last night with my wife at a local theatre, theatre was crowded, being Saturday night. Thoroughly enjoyed movie, loved surrealistic theme and interaction with young BD. Music was excellent, Spacey sounds so very much like BD, maybe better in some cases. Only wish that more of movie had had to do with his other talents, piano (he had a top- 10 solo piano hit in 1960, forget the song's name), guitar (saw him at Lake Tahoe in 1973, phenomenal guitar player), Cornet (used to include solos in all his shows), drums (would also do solos, said to be better than his own drummer by a long shot). The surrealistic theme of the movie did tend to ignore the somewhat darker side of his character that could be pretty nasty indeed... glad they included his family makeup/mixup as an element, explains a lot about his drive, etc. I had heard that he had known about his sister being his mother from a very young age but had put it out of his memory. This subplot worked itself into the story pretty well. I'm not sure that Dick Clark had that much to do with his initial success at all, the men never really knew each other all that well. The big thing about the movie last night was the applause by the full house audience as the credits were running, quite loud and sustained. Looking around, most if not all of the people in there were our age (60 to 70) and all were very much shaken by the movie. How did he say it? " Our memories will be whatever we want them to be" or something like that. That is just about what I felt. The things that happened and were happening to me while I was listening to his records fill an enormous part of my memory bank. I'm sure that held true from everyone I saw leaving the theatre. He had such an impact on so many lives
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