“Music's the only thing that makes sense anymore, man. Play it loud enough, it keeps the demons at bay.”
For some reason I remember buying Across the Universe on DVD like it was yesterday and not eight years ago. At the time I was working at Best Buy in the Media department. I was responsible for making sure all the DVDs, CDs, video games, and MP3s were stocked and occasionally try to sell things which I sucked gloriously at. I was working at the store when Across the Universe was in theaters as well. I remember this girl coming in with her mother and a few other people and asking me if we had the Across the Universe soundtrack. I found it for them and they told me it was all Beatles songs. Of course I knew who the Beatles were I just had no clue that there had been a movie made with their songs in it. When the DVD came out a few months later I decided to buy it since I had a discount. Two of my friends and my one brother are obsessed with the Beatles so we watched the movie together. They did not like it because of the way the songs were done. I did not really understand most of it but I did like the new renditions of the songs. Over the years I have traded tons of movies in for cash but I always kept Across the Universe. It has been several years since I last watched the movie so I decided to give it another go. This time I understood everything and loved it.
Jude (Jim Sturgess) is a young Englishman living in Liverpool in the early 1960s. He works the dock yards and has a girlfriend. Jude decides to track down his American father who left his mother before he was even born. He manages to track down his father to Princeton University. He thinks his father is a professor and is a bit shocked to find out he is a grounds keeper for the university. That night Jude helps out a student named Max (Joe Anderson) after Max antagonized some jocks and they started chasing him. Max invites Jude back to his place for Thanksgiving. Max brings Jude to pick up his younger sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood) from school. Jude immediately likes Lucy and starts flirting with her a bit in the car.
At Thanksgiving dinner Max lets his family know that he is dropping out of Princeton. His father is pissed off because he does not have any plans whatsoever for his future. That night Max and Jude drive off for The Village in New York City. They get rooms in an apartment run by a rock singer named Sadie.
Lucy soon joins her brother and Jude in New York City after her boyfriend is killed in the Vietnam War. Her whole world is turned upside down after her boyfriend dies. She realizes the world is not all nice and wrapped up in a bow like her world is. Lucy quickly begins a relationship with Jude and begins running around freely with Max’s crowd.
The rest of the movie deals with societal issues in the 1960s such as the Vietnam War and young people protesting it, rock n’ roll music, and in one part racial tensions. All the songs help to tell the stories of each other characters either apart or together. . My summary really does not do the movie justice at all because there is just so much going on between telling bits and pieces about the time period and telling the stories of the different characters.
I feel that Across the Universe is not given enough credit and recognition. I think it is genius the way the story of these young people living through the 1960s is juxtaposed and told through the songs of the Beatles. I loved how it was artistic and creative. All the actors were phenomenal in their roles and their singing of these classic songs was fantastic. My favorite songs on the soundtrack are “Hold Me Tight”, “Helter Skelter”, “I’ve Just Seen a Face”, and “All My Loving.” “Helter Skelter” is awesome because the actress who sings the song played a Janis Joplin-type character and her raspy rock voice gives the song such a great edge. Without Across the Universe I never would have started somewhat listening to the Beatles. (Sidenote: my brother who did not like the movie a few years ago now thinks it is great).
I had never seen Across the Universe before I picked it up that one day eight years ago. Whenever I listen to the soundtrack or now after I watched the movie again for the first time in years I am so happy I bought it and I kept. My curiosity about the story and the music definitely paid off! If you can get your hands on a copy absolutely check out Across the Universe.