Across the Universe

October 12th, 2007

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Across the Universe

Still of Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood and Joe Anderson in Across the UniverseStill of Martin Luther in Across the UniverseAcross the UniverseAcross the UniverseJulie Taymor in Across the UniverseAcross the Universe

The music of the Beatles and the Vietnam War form the backdrop for the romance between an upper-class American girl and a poor Liverpudlian artist.

Release Year: 2007

Rating: 7.4/10 (57,092 voted)

Critic's Score: 56/100

Director: Julie Taymor

Stars: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson

Across The Universe is a fictional love story set in the 1960s amid the turbulent years of anti-war protest, the struggle for free speech and civil rights, mind exploration and rock and roll. At once gritty, whimsical and highly theatrical, the story moves from high schools and universities in Massachusetts, Princeton and Ohio to the Lower East Side of Manhattan, the Detroit riots, Vietnam and the dockyards of Liverpool. A combination of live action and animation, the film is paired with many songs by

Writers: Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais

Evan Rachel Wood - Lucy Carrigan
Jim Sturgess - Jude
Joe Anderson - Max Carrigan
Dana Fuchs - Sadie
Martin Luther - Jo-Jo (as Martin Luther McCoy)
T.V. Carpio - Prudence
Spencer Liff - Daniel
Lisa Hogg - Jude's Liverpool Girlfriend
Nicholas Lumley - Cyril
Michael Ryan - Phil
Angela Mounsey - Martha Feeny - Jude's Mother
Erin Elliott - Cheer Coach
Robert Clohessy - Wesley 'Wes' Huber - Jude's Father
Christopher Tierney - Dorm Buddy / Dancer
Curtis Holbrook - Dorm Buddy

Taglines: Within the lyrics of the world's most famous songs, lives a story that has never been told. Until now.


Official Website: Official site [Japan] | Sony Pictures [Germany] |

Release Date: 12 October 2007

Filming Locations: Armour-Stiner House, Irvington, New York, USA

Box Office Details

Budget: $73,105,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend: $667,784 (USA) (16 September 2007) (23 Screens)

Gross: $29,367,143 (Worldwide)

Technical Specs


Did You Know?

When Sadie plays at the Fillmore, she is billed as Sadie and the Po Boys, a reference to the Creedence Clearwater Revival album "Willie and the Poor Boys."

Factual errors: Military deaths are reported to family by two officers, one of which is a Chaplain. The personnel that tell Daniel's mother of his death are both Sergeants.

[first lines]
Jude: [singing] Is there anybody going to listen to my story 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. Aw, girl. Girl...

User Review

Flawed movie, but nevertheless breathtaking

Rating: 8/10

I saw a sold-out opening night screening of "Across the Universe" last night with a group of my friends who had really been looking forward to it. Many of them were extremely disappointed, while in the critical world, Roger Ebert and the New York Times loved it. Because the film was so highly anticipated, and a number of people have asked me how I liked it, I'm writing this review in an attempt to express why the movie is so divisive. I'm not going to talk about plot, or describe any of the numbers. If you're interested in seeing the movie, they'll be more enjoyable if they're unexpected.

It's a bizarre and beautiful movie musical, almost a music video at times, that uses thirty- three of The Beatles' songs and director Julie Taymor's unique visual style to illustrate both a personal love story and the overall conflict in the sixties. The movie is incredibly original and ambitious, and therefore its failings are as dramatic as its successes. Both stem from the same source: Julie Taymor's self-indulgence. That's nothing new to her movies, "Frida" and "Titus" have the same problem, but in a movie stripped of traditional narrative, it's glaringly obvious. Some songs are impeccably chosen and staged with great creativity, but others are too obvious, or thematically forced so Taymor can cram in another song and stunning visual sequence.

For the first half of the movie, I was frequently divided. One innovative sequence would really pull me into the style, then a forced number or awkward staging would distance me again. When an obvious, recognizable number began, I was torn between a cynical impulse to roll my eyes and an almost exhilarated impulse to laugh and applaud.

"Across the Universe" is a mess. There's no denying that. It is poorly paced and badly structured, and at times its feather-light plot and contrived or obligatory numbers become tedious. But at one point, about halfway through, I decided just to go along for the ride. I delighted in every brash, bold choice, whether it worked or not. I let the poignant moments move me, whether or not I intellectually felt that they were contrived.

The Beatles' music had a huge effect on me; from the fateful day that my friend accidentally copied the first three tracks of "Revolver" onto my computer, a love affair was born. Their songs are inexorably tied to memories beautiful and horrible scattered all over my life, and as I grow older, I'm constantly discovering new, deeper resonances in their familiar refrains. Even when the context was vague or stretched, the film's reinterpreting and revealing new facets of these songs seemed to serve as a tribute to their breadth and greatness. Taymor's damning depiction of the horrors of war, and lyrical portrait of young, idealistic love are both painfully expressive and unique, and simply took my breath away. By the film's shamelessly corny close, I realized that I had just had a genuine cinematic experience. For all the movies that I watch, that's incredibly rare.

In his review in the New York Times, Stephen Holden writes, "I realized that falling in love with a movie is like falling in love with another person. Imperfections, however glaring, become endearing quirks once you've tumbled." I could laughingly list this movie's flaws from now till next week, but I sort of fell in love with its sheer audacity. You might not. It's extremely naïve, and thematically simple, and you could find that endearing or irritating. You may love it, or you may hate it, but you're going to feel something. This movie will not change your life; don't expect it to. But if you let your criticism fade to the background, and abandon yourself to Taymor's passionate fervor, you may have a pretty amazing experience.

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