Across the Universe

Overview:
An American girl and a British lad fall in love amid the social and political upheaval of the 1960s. On an excursion to America, Liverpool dock worker Jude falls for Lucy. But when Lucy’s brother is drafted, Jude and Lucy take a stand as anti-war activists.

Plot Rating: 1/5

The description says it all… And clarifies a hell of a lot for me. There is no getting around it: the movie is badly written. Characters appear suddenly, vanish as suddenly, then reappear without any explanation or purpose in the storyline (namely the cheerleading Prudence at the beginning who vanishes for 4-5 scenes and then suddenly reappears, vanishes again, reappears again, and vanishes again). That isn’t to mention that you will see two consecutive shots which occur DAYS apart without more than a throwaway line saying that time has passed (in one scene you see Lucy telling her mom she’s thinking about spending the summer with her brother in NY, and in the next scene she’s eating dinner with them and randomly mentiones later that she just got off the bus).

The relationship between the characters is equally abrupt and forced, with nothing strong backing it up. Max, Lucy’s brother, and herself do not seem at all embarrased when Max walks in on her lying naked in bed with Jude, and indeed Max seems closer to Jude than Lucy, who he almost doesn’t seem to notice. It feels like people were thrown into scenes for no apparent reason most of the time.

Weird trippy love scene with Vietnamese friend Prudence randomly appearing, presumably to remind them the Vietnamese war is always on their minds~

I haven’t seen a movie this bad on the technicals since “The Last Airbender”. There are blatant metaphores made so obvious to ensure the audience notices them that it can only be described as corny. There are characters who are introduced with no bearing or mention on the rest of the story (ie, Jude’s father, who justifies his existance at the very end of the movie in one scene) and it has an overall feel of an amateur writer trying to say “see??? I’m deep!”

Acting Score: 5/5
I’ll be nice here, because the acting really is good, they just got shit material to work with. Evan Rachel Wood is believable as Lucy and has an incredible voice to carry her character through. Jim Sturgess is a very pensive and serious Jude. If anything though it is hard to buy into him as the drug-doing activist type.

Joe Anderson plays Max, Lucy’s brother who gets sent to Vietnam. He’s supposed to be a stoner, but just like with Sturgess’ character it’s kind of hard to buy in to that. Dana Fuchs and Martin Luther have a minor backstory going throught the film, but so little attention is drawn to it it is extremely forgettable.

L-R: Jude, Lucy, Max, Random Hippies

Age Rating: 15+
It’s a trippy movie to say the least. There is some light female nudity, implied sexual content, lots of drug use, and a lot of language. Younger children may be disturbed by the entire middle of the film, which looks like one long drug trip.

Fun Trivia
Every song in the movie is from a Beetle’s album, even down to ones sung in passing.

Salma Hayek appears in passing as a nurse in the “Bang Bang Shoot Shoot” scene.

The movie is written to match the overall pace of The Beetles’ work: innocent and soft in the beginning, druggy and trippy in the middle, and rather dark in the end.

The character of Jo-Jo is a reference to Jimi Hendrix. He plays the same guitar as Hendrix and Sadie even dresses him up in Hendrix’s iconic style.

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