All about the girl who came to stay? She’s the kind of girl you want so much It makes you sorry Still you don’t regret a single day. Ah girl! Ffff…Girl!
With Lennon’s “Girl” begins Julie Taymore’s latest film, Across the Universe. The film is visually rich, musically gifted, and utterly confused. Nonetheless, I really enjoyed it. This movie is divisive, make no mistake. Rotten Tomatoes marks it “Rotten” as of the date of this post, as shown below. Only 51% of the critical reviews are positive. Look at those reviews, though, and you’ll see strong feelings for or against the film.
Disclaimer: I went to see this movie because my brother’s in it, as a dancer (when Max goes into the induction centre and is stripped to his boxers, Kenneth is the first soldier to Max’s right, and dances behind him; later, he is two beds to the left of Max). I also didn’t pay anything to see it (due to some complimentary—or compensatory—tickets provided by the theatre for a screening of Pirates of the Carribean that was interrupted by a 5-year-old). I was prepared to hate the film, because going in you know it will take every possible cliché that it can. Despite a very slow start and an often muddled middle with the various characters flitting in and out of the film, the film managed to keep me entertained for more than two hours, and came across as relevant today, at least to me. This is art, but it’s not high art. It’s candy on the order of Moulin Rouge!, but perhaps not as well executed in the end. Still, if you enjoy the Beatles, enjoy in-jokes, and are prepared to accept a caricature of the 60s (but what movie isn’t a caricature of an era), you will probably enjoy this film.