Friday, April 04, 2008

Swimming Across the Universe (a review)

Across the Universe is one of the two films that I've been anticipating for quite some time now. In fact I blogged about it last year. The other one is The Air I Breathe which I've been waiting for since 2006. And due to my husband's connection, he was able to procure a copy of these two movies which made me spontaneously combust with glee!

I have already watched Across the Universe, and man, I love, love, love it and in my opinion, it's way better than Rent (sorry Pheebs!).

I have to admit that my Beatles knowledge was limited which is probably why I appreciated this movie because they used a lot of popular Beatles songs and a few songs which I'm not familiar with that made me want to delve deeper into the Beatles Musicology.

The story is simple enough: set in the Hippie sixties during the Vietnam War.

Jude, a young man from Liverpool, went to the US to find the G. I. father that he never met and along the way met Max and Lucy, siblings from a very conservative and well-to-do family. Max is raring to break free from his conservative upbringing and Lucy was engaged to his high school sweetheart that was sent to 'Nam early on in the movie. Max and Jude moved to East Village New York to live a bohemian life there as a taxi driver and freelance artist respectively. They were living in a rented room in an apartment owned by aspiring singer, Sadie (are you seeing the Beatles reference now?). Jo-jo, an awesome guitarist whose little brother died in a riot, moved in eventually and became Sadie's professional and romantic partner (hmm...seeing a Janis Joplin and Jimi Hendrix allusion here). Prudence, a lonely and bisexual Amerasian from Ohio, completed the main cast. Together, they led an idyllic, bohemian life in Sadie's apartment.

Jude helped Lucy move on after her fiance's death and they soon fell in love. However, Max gets drafted into the war and everything started to unravel. Lucy gets more and more involved in a radical Anti-War group while Jude remains apolitical and removed from the entire scene. Sadie and Jojo had a falling out after Sadie decided to sell out and sign with a record label. Prudence left and joined the circus after getting her heart broken (she fell in love with Sadie).

All of the scenes were interspersed with numerous Beatles references and there were cameos from Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker and Salma Hayek.

The film was visually awesome although the Bono and Eddie Izzard scenes were a bit Luhrmann-esque in style but the music and choreography was amazing. The actors all sang their bit and although some of them weren't professional like Evan Rachel Wood, they were able to hold their own. Dana Fusch as Sadie was really, really good- I could see her playing Janis Joplin. T. V. Carpio was downright good and I pegged her as a Filipino the moment I saw her and I confirmed it via Wikipedia.

What I loved about this movie was it made me sing along. It was kinda like listening to your favorite album while watching a movie. I'd give it a 4 out of 5 stars. The movie exceeded my expectations and it was worth the wait, I must say. I hope I could say the same for The Air I Breathe which I'll be watching this weekend.

Here are my fave bits from the movie:

Let It Be
Nice vocals by the young boy. Cried a bit here.

Oh! Darling
Love the irony when Sadie was singing this when in fact she is intending to ditch her band and going solo.

I Want To Hold Your Hand.
Everybody who 'knows' me will know why this scene is close to my heart.

Come Together
Very nice arrangement and Joe 'you-are-so-beautiful' Cocker still has it!

Strawberry Fields Forever
Love the symbolism. Bloody red.

No comments: