"Drugs, Sex and Lies or Back to the Dark Ages of the Sixties"
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE attempts to approach filmmaking from the complete artistic opposite of traditional plot, character, dialogue, etc. It starts with all the Beatles music, according to the press notes, and builds a very tenuous story by linking the songs together in a visual, musical incarnation of a drug induced LSD vision. However, having gone through that phase and rejected it, it doesn’t even work as an LSD vision. The movie wants to explore the 1960s in a warm, nostalgic way. One line, from the revolutionary SDS leader at Columbia University, says, “The United States will never again be seen as a heroic country of freedom, but from now on as an imperialist, exploitative state.” And, that is the movie’s message.
The movie opens with Jude sitting on a beach singing one of the Beatles songs. Jude leaves his ship factory in Liverpool, signs on as a seaman on a freighter and illegally jumps ship in America, Later in the movie, he makes a comment about how liberating it feels to be an illegal immigrant. He searches for his father at Princeton and finds his father is not a professor but a janitor. He gets involved with Max, who looks 10 years older than a Princeton undergraduate. Max is a rich ne’er do well. Jude falls in love with Max’s sister, Lucy.
Max drops out of school and they all move to New York, to live in a hippie commune run by Sadie and her Jimi Hendrix boyfriend. They get deeply into the sex scene, the drug scene and the anti-war scene in late 1960s New York.
The rock singer Bono shows up in the Neal Cassady character. A lot of other rock stars have cameo roles. Sex is extolled. Drugs are extolled. Anti-war protests are extolled.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE would be a pathetic movie were it not for the rousing Beatles songs. One reviewer walked out in the middle of it. Another commented, “Why isn’t Columbia Pictures putting any PR into this movie.” But, those reviewers who stayed until the end walked away praising the movie since they were touched by the warm, happy ending where Jude and Lucy get together for one more tryst.
The values in this movie are abhorrent. As with any movie that is anti everything, there are always one or two good moments which loony everything-is-redemptive reviewers will see seize upon. One moment is when Lucy walks in on her other paramour, the SDS leader, while he’s making illegal pipe bombs. She rants, “We’re not supposed to make bombs. The government does that!” Or, something like that. Her rant is vindicated when the radicals blow themselves up. The only other positive moment is when Jude gets upset when Lucy may be sleeping around with the revolutionary leader, showing that free love was not as free as everybody thought it was.
Aside from these two moments, this movie is in opposition to every civilized virtue and moral value. In the real world, these people would be suffering from drug addiction, hallucination, abortion, sexually transmitted diseases, and the many other consequences of their actions. How do we know? Well, when we were in that scene, one of the best and the brightest went loony and never recovered, another committed suicide, another jumped off a building, and of course there were others whom Jesus rescued from the edge of abyss. The age portrayed here as being so attractive is the age of fools who are now stewing in the corrupt juices of their own sins.
It is incredible that a PG-13 rating would be given to a movie that has such intense nude scenes. Some of the X rated movies of yesteryear should apply for re-classification. This is an extremely provocative movie for those who are susceptible to its tawdry cheap lures and anti-authoritarian values.
(HHH, CoCoCo, PCPCPC, APAPAP, HoHoHo, LLL, VV, SSS, NNN, AAA, DDD, MMM) Very strong humanist, politically correct Cultural Marxist worldview with very strong anti-American elements, very strong homosexual references, and no positive religious references, only references to drug-induced mind expansion; 33 obscenities and 6 profanities; some intense violence with scenes of war, bomb blows up, men fighting, scenes of fighting in war, scenes of bullets hitting soldiers, and scenes of simulated symbolic acts of violence; implied sex, depicted sex, scenes of simulated symbolic acts of sex, and drawings of sex, and very strong homosexual references; scenes of full and partial nudity; very strong alcohol; very strong smoking and drug use; and, all authority is bad and evil, lying to parents and girlfriends, stealing, and rebellion.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is a witless salute to the drug-induced, free love society of the anti-war movement in the 1960s. The movie opens with Jude on a beach singing a Beatles song. Jude leaves his ship factory in Liverpool, signs as a seaman on a freighter and jumps ship in America. Jude searches for his father at Princeton and finds his father is not a professor but a janitor. He gets involved with Max, a rich ne’er do well. Jude falls in love with Max’s sister, Lucy. Max drops out of school, and they move to New York to live in a hippie commune. Jude, Lucy and Max get deeply involved in the sex scene, the drug scene and the anti-war scene in late 1960s New York.
ACROSS THE UNIVERSE approaches filmmaking from the complete opposite of traditional plot, character, dialogue, etc. It builds a very tenuous story by linking many Beatles songs together in a visual, musical incarnation of a drug-induced LSD vision of an anti-American, anti-Christian Communist humanist utopia. Except for the music, the movie fails on practically all accounts and contains extreme sex and nudity.