It was late September, 2007 when chance ushered us to a movie theatre playing Across the Universe. We knew nothing about the movie, had no idea who director Julie Taymor was, let alone watched trailers or checked reviews. Void of external interference, untainted by collective jibber-jabber or prickling with tabloid expectation – we entered blank slates, emerged transformed. Walking to the car in silence, unabashed grins said it all. From that day forward Across the Universe served as a silent barometer – get it you’re in my tribe, miss the point I have serious doubts.
Despite Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band being one of the first albums I owned, I wouldn’t say I was a Beatles super-fan. What Across the Universe did was use Beatles music to transcend time and place, delivering social commentary as relevant today as it was in 1967.
A few days ago a still of the movie Yesterday appeared on my news feed. Starring Himesh Patel as a floundering British singer-songwriter who wakes from a freak bus accident to find himself in a alternate universe where The Beatles never existed. Patel’s character Jack seizes the opportunity to perform Beatles songs to a world that’s never heard them. Directed by Danny Boyle ( Slumdog Millionaire ), Jack finds fame and risks losing everything he loves. Sounds pretty lame, right? Not so fast.
Across the Universe proved Beatle’s music more powerful than quaint skips down memory lane. Those who didn’t get Across the Universe likely described it as a frivolous love story. Here’s hoping Boyle’s Yesterday delivers an equally surprising gift. Scheduled for general release on June 28, 2019 we’ll have to wait and see if Boyle delivers. Until then I’ll avoid media contamination. No reviews, hype, praise, condemnation or analysis of Yesterday shall touch me until seeing it for myself. Stay tuned…..
Julie Taymor’s 2007 musical masterpiece Across The Universe dominates my top ten list. Never before or since have I left a theatre wearing unabashed joy from ear to ear. Gob smacked patrons bound by a collective aura of measurable energy, stepped out with enlightened strides of purpose. Wikipedia link below details the premise, misses the magic –
ATU opens with soft footsteps – a love story set in 1960’s America, unknown actors singing Beatles songs. Captivated by cinematography and stunning Beatles covers, audience members barely notice Taymor’s seamless punch of trans formative anti war and civil rights protest. Riveted to our seats, witness to the glaring relevance of Vietnam era America in our modern world. Brilliant. If you haven’t seen it, make a point of seeking it out. I get goosebumps watching this –
Sunday often ends with a musical ponder. In keeping with civil rights, a topic weighing heavily on my mind as the 50th anniversary of America signing the first Civil Rights Act on July 2, 1964 approaches – a short clip from Across The Universe.
Across The Universe – directed by Julie Taymor, released in 2007, Oscar nominated for best musical (lost to Sweeney Todd) – not just my favorite musical, it rates as one of my top movies of all time. On the surface a love story based on music of the Beatles, set in the era of Vietnam and Civil Rights protests. What it delivers – a razor sharp statement on war and civil rights, as relevant today as in 1968. A link to the full movie….
People I know either love this movie or don’t get it for reasons I’m unable to comprehend. Across the Universe is one of those films that makes you leave the theatre with a grin from ear to ear. Released in 2007 after delays and controversy, director Julie Taymor’s masterpiece faded into obscurity; dead end Golden Globe and Oscar nominations did little to bolster appreciation for what I can honestly say is one of the best musicals in modern history.