Across The Universe stars Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, and Joe Anderson as Lucy, Jude and Max respectively.
This is the story of Lucy and her brother, Max, and his best friend, Jude (who also becomes Lucy's lover) from Liverpool, England. The story focuses on the blossoming romantic relationship between Lucy and Jude that is set against the turbulent backdrop of 1960's riots, protests, drafts, war and the changing times in America.
Max is drafted and deployed to Vietnam while Lucy immerses herself in the radical anti-war movement. Lucy's activities in the peace protests can be seen as a reaction to Max being drafted. However, an early scene in which Lucy confesses to a friend that her decision to not have children is based on the opinion that having children is "narcissistic" reveals Lucy to be a rather radical, free thinker, who is unafraid to buck societal expectations and roles for women. Meanwhile, her boyfriend, Jude, is a struggling artist living in the U.S. without a visa. He remains uninvolved in the peace movement as he sees the protests as futile--Lucy might be willing to "lay down in front of a tank if that's what it takes to bring [her] brother home" from the war, though Jude points out that this won't do any good. Before long the differences between Jude's and Lucy's respective ideologies and their world views threaten to tear the young lovers apart. Will Max survive the war? Will Jude and Lucy reunite despite the ocean that separates them literally and figuratively?
This movie is different; this is an understatement. There is very little dialogue; instead the scenes and the story are driven and connected by the cast's performances of Beatles songs. There is no denying the shear creativity and originality of the director's vision for and execution of this film; it is unusual and original and sometimes bizarre, and you probably won't see another movie quite like it for a long time. Some scenes seem as if they are part of someone's acid trip and the filmmaker has invited the audience to witness it. Since the tenuous thread connecting the scenes are songs by the Beatles, the story can be hard to follow at times without dialogue to fill in the holes left in the action and events portrayed on screen. Regardless, this movie is one surreal journey as the characters sing and dance through the film.
I recommend this movie, especially for fans of music and film, fans of musicals--and fans of the Beatles. Across The Universe is available upon request from Lebanon Community Library and Annville Free Library.
--Reviewed by Ms. Angie