New musical features Beatles hits

By Brittany Lavin
October 18, 2007

columbia pictures

“Across the Universe,” directed by Julie Taymor and written by Ian La Frenais and Dick Clement, is a musical film which features music and lyrics written by The Beatles. The film first premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival and stars Jim Sturgess and Evan Rachel Wood.

The film begins in the early 1960s, where we meet Jude (Sturgess), who travels from Liverpool, England to America to find the father he has never met. While searching for him at Princeton University, Jude “gets by with a little help” from Max (Joe Anderson), a privileged rebel, who he befriends there.

Together, Jude and Max move to New York City and share an apartment in a bohemian community and are joined by Max’s sister Lucy. There, the small group of friends becomes a family unit. Though she has lost her boyfriend in Vietnam, Jude and Lucy eventually fall in love and the film follows their story and that of their friends as the war in Vietnam travels a little too close to home when Max is drafted and sent overseas.

The film includes a total of 33 Beatles songs, which the cast members utilize to express their feelings as each of their stories play out across the screen. Unsurprisingly, the war strains the relationships of all the characters, including that of Lucy and Jude, who have opposite opinions on anti-war activism.

The film takes on a bittersweet tone when the characters find themselves separated. However, the bonds of their friendship are too strong to be broken as Max’s voices travels “across the universe,” reaching out to Jude and telling him to take “a sad song and make it better.” With this push, Jude is inspired by the virtues of love and friendship and works to reunite with his family.

With its powerful message and the help of The Beatles, “Across the Universe” is a stunningly relatable piece about the human spirit in times of turmoil and shows that no matter how bad things get, in the end, “all you need is love.”

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Brittany Lavin

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