MUSICAL DRAMA; 2hr 14min
STARRING: Jim Sturgess, Evan Rachel Wood
Love is all you need: from left, Wood, Sturgess and T.V. Carpio
Designing a musical around 33 songs of the Beatles is a Herculean effort but director Julie Taymor (Frida) does a daring, bedazzling job. The lyrics in Across the Universe are the framework of a story that sees Liverpool lad Jude (Sturgess) and all-American blonde Lucy (Wood) fall in love in New York’s 1960s East Village in an odyssey of highs and lows that spans continents and emotional climates.
And, oh, the music (performed live by a gutsy cast)! The choreography (courtesy of Daniel Ezralow)! The cameos (Bono, Eddie Izzard, Joe Cocker, Salma Hayek)! Some numbers (“I Want You”, “Come Together”) are so alive they practically burst off the screen. But the Beatles were also creatures of mood and reflection and “Let It Be” is a vivid lament. Pulling it all together, Taymor nestles electrified realism cheek to cheek with a dotty flight of fancy in a vibrant, inventive, show-stopping dance.