There are some aspects of what people call "pop culture" that I believe should be considered culture. Drop the pop. One of those aspects is the music of The Beatles. There never has been, nor will there ever be in the future, a band like them. They created a body of musical work that will last well into the future. That brings me to the movie I saw this past weekend, Across the Universe. It was simply amazing. It was a beautiful, sincere love story told through the music of The Beatles. It was also a story of the times in which the music was created. Hearing these songs in the movie really drives home just how powerful the lyrics of The Beatles can be.
All of the characters are named after characters from Beatles songs. The main characters are Jude (Hey Jude) and Lucy (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds). We also have Sadie (Sexy Sadie), JoJo (Get Back), Max (Maxwell's Silver Hammer), Prudence (Dear Prudence), Dr. Robert (Doctor Robert), and Molly (Ob-la-di Ob-la-da). There are also numerous references to other aspects of Beatles culture. I won't spoil them because they are so much fun to discover on your own when you watch the movie.
As time has gone on, I have become much less cynical about the movies. I am not a "cautiously optimistic" sort of guy. I still see a trailer and react with excitement in my gut if it hits me the right way. I remember when I saw the trailer for this movie I knew I HAD to see it. I just couldn't wait. As a matter of fact, I drove to the theater directly from work on Friday to go see it. The movie registered with me emotionally in the same way that music hits you emotionally. I fell in love with the characters right off the bat. They were such likable people. I wanted to jump into the movie and go on adventures with them. I defy anyone to listen to Lucy, played by Evan Rachel Wood, sing If I Fell and not have a tear in their eye. It is that moving. Likewise, to hear Jim Sturgess sing Something is to be reminded of why Frank Sinatra considered it the greatest love song ever written.
The director Julie Taymor has done the most wonderful job in taking a beautiful story, some of the best music ever written, and stunning imagery and making the best movie I have seen all year. Sometimes you see a certain movie and it just stays with you for days. This is one of those movies. I honestly can't recommend it enough.
There is something else that really struck me after I left the movie. I have become very sad about how jaded our current culture has gotten. Across the Universe evokes memories of sincere young love, just living and enjoying life, and the belief that you could change the world. It seems like things nowadays have to remain emotionally detached. If you are sincere you run the risk of people making fun of you for being "corny" or, in the case of movies and TV, "campy." This movie, like the music of The Beatles, wears it's heart on its sleeve and is all the better for doing it. It also contains a simple message from The Beatles that is needed just as much now as it was in the 60's . . . All You Need is Love.