NOTICE: Many events listed here have been canceled or postponed due to the Covid-19 emergency. It is best to call ahead or check with organizer's websites to verify the status of any local event.

Change Location × Worldwide

    Recent Locations

      Across the Universe Review

      Across the Universe poster

      Across the Universe

      Jessica Reaves, Chicago Tribune

      It's the oldest story in the world: Boy meets girl, boy falls in love with girl, girl joins radical student organization hell-bent on ending the Vietnam War, boy's passion devolves into paranoia, boy returns to work in a Liverpool shipyard. Months pass before they simultaneously arrive at a wholly unoriginal yet heartwarming conclusion: All You Need, it turns out, Is Love.

      We've just given away the major plot points of "Across the Universe," Julie Taymor's uncharacteristically chipper rock opera, but plot is hardly the point here. Music - the Beatles' music - lies at the heart of this film; the iconic songs, sung by the film's energetic, talented cast, propel the characters through the public and private upheavals of the U.S. in the late 1960s. While her movie is certainly unique, Taymor clearly owes much to Baz Luhrmann's "Moulin Rouge."

      "Universe" is also an intensely visual experience, and that's where Taymor excels. Although she helmed 2002's "Frida" and 1999's "Titus Andronicus," she's best known as the force behind the Tony-winning Broadway production of "The Lion King," which introduced the masses to her signature costume designs.

      Anyone who's seen "Lion King" and marveled at both the fluidity of the animals' movements and the coldness of their expressions is familiar with Taymor's peculiar blend of sensuality and brutalism. "Across the Universe" displays both elements with equal fervor; a tender performance of "If I Fell" is closely followed by an explosive, ingeniously staged iteration of "I Want You" set in a U.S. Army recruitment office, complete with masked soldiers sending inductees down a human assembly line.

      The film's young stars include Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess as Lucy and Jude, the lovers whose affair takes them (and us) from the relative innocence of the mid-1960s through the decade's darker second half. And, yes, their names, like almost every character's, are linked to Beatles hits.

      The filmmakers' apparent desire to foreshadow every single song occasionally borders on parody - Jude, an artist, spends a lot of time with strawberries; his best friends include a very sexy Sadie and a loner named Prudence, who enjoys entering apartments via the bathroom window. That said, once you give in to the absurdity of a mustachioed Bono as Ken Kesey/Timothy Leary singing "I Am the Walrus" and overlook the cliche bacchanal in New York's Greenwich Village, you just might find yourself happily trying to spot the next ditty on the horizon.

      The same philosophy might apply to the movie in general: If you can get past its relatively minor failings (Taymor reportedly prevailed in an editing-booth battle with Revolution Studios, ensuring that the movie is at least 20 minutes too long, and the tone borders on didactic), it's hard not to be seduced by the big heart of this chaotic, colorful movie. And if you're a Beatles fan who's not offended by people taking serious liberties with the arrangements of your favorite songs, the unrepentantly exuberant and seriously tuneful "Across the Universe" is pretty much a sure thing.

      "Across the Universe"

      Directed by Julie Taymor; screenplay by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais; photographed by Bruno Delbonnel; edited by Francoise Bonnot; music by Elliot Goldenthal; production design by Mark Friedberg; produced by Suzanne Todd, Jennifer Todd and Matthew Gross. A Sony Pictures release. Running time: 2:13. MPAA rating: PG-13 (some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language).

      Lucy - Evan Rachel Wood

      Jude - Jim Sturgess

      Max - Joe Anderson

      Sadie - Dana Fuchs

      Quick movie browse