Monday, October 22, 2007

Across The Universe

(This Musing may include what some would consider to be spoilers.)

Charley and I went to see the movie "Across The Universe" yesterday and all I can say is it was absolutely stunning. I know it is getting mixed reviews, but it is one of those that you love totally or completely despise. I don't understand the ones that don't get it.

The film uses 32 Beatles tunes to tell the story of a small group of dreamers in the sixties. It is not just a love story of the main couple, but a story about family. The songs were not merely covers, but reinterpretations and in at least one case will make you completely change your idea of what the original song was really about.

There are literally hundreds of remarkable visual moments that you will never forget in this film. The underwater ballet. The bleeding strawberries. The Statue of Liberty be marched across the fields of Vietnam. I could go on and on.

Everyone has scenes from films that touch them and they keep those moments locked inside as little snapshots they will always remember. This fantastic piece of art gave me several iconic moments that are forever etched inside of me.

When Prudence sings "I want to hold your hand" she isn't singing about being happy in love and wanting to joyfully walk hand in hand with the person she loves. She is painfully bearing her soul about how she loves someone she will never have and how that love she holds in her heart is killing her. Her longing is heartbreaking and beautifull at the same time. I looked at Charley at the end of that scene and we were both in tears. Big, ugly, tears dripping from your cheeks, crying. I will never hear that song again and think of it in a way other than just painful longing. (see picture above) Click play to hear T.V. Carpio singing "I want to hold your hand" from the soundtrack.

The "Let It Be" sequence. The scene starts with a little boy hovering next to a burning car during the Detroit riots singing, then changes to a church choir singing the song as a gospel hymn with blended scenes of two different funeral. The production of the song and visuals are quite amazing. It is simply a masterpiece. Once again not a dry eye in the house.

The scene where Lucy looks across the crowded room at a party and you can see that she is going to let herself fall in love again. She quietly sings "If I fell" and she is telling herself she can open her heart once more. This simple scene might get overlooked, but it is heartening to see when someone survives a tragedy and decides it is OK to live again.

The overhead sweeping shot across the wheat field to focus on the cast harmonizing while laying in a circle among the wind blown wheat stalks, takes your breath away. "Because" is not one of the better Beatles songs, but the shot was crazy beautiful.

After Jude's world crumbles and he is alone on the subway singing "Across The Universe", he is watching his life as it once was in the reflection in the train window. His dream seems to be gone and he is singing the lyrics "Nothing's going to change my world" but in reality everything he has ever wanted is lost. Tragic.

The scene with 2 people in 2 different bars on 2 different continents reaching each other through the mirror.

When you see all of the crap that Hollywood puts out there, with either a number at the end of the title or a promotional deal with the likes of McDonald's and Hasbro it is overwhelmingly refreshing to see people that are trying to make something original ... something with feeling ... something that is ART.

This film was directed by Julie Taymor and she is a God amongst Gods.

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