2 hours, 11 minutes
PG-13 Parents Strongly Cautioned.
for some drug content, nudity, sexuality, violence and language
Closed Caption; Extended musical performances; Deleted scene; Commentary with director Julie Taymor and music producer/composer Elliot Goldenthal; 5 behind the scenes featurettes; Photo gallery.
Lucy ... Evan Rachel Wood
Jude ... Jim Sturgess
Max ... Joe Anderson
Sadie ... Dana Fuchs
Jo-Jo ... Martin Luther McCoy
Prudence ... T.V. Carpio
The simple story begins in the seaport town of Liverpool, England where Jude (Jim Sturgess "The Browning Version") has grown up fatherless. Restless, he joins a ship's crew and heads for America to search for his father. At Princeton he meets Max (Joe Anderson "Becoming Jane"), a high-spirited student and his lovely sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood "Thirteen"). They all end up sharing a hippie flat in Manhattan. Their landlady is Sadie (newcomer Dana Fuchs), a Joplin-esque rock singer, who has a tumultuous relationship with her talented guitarist, Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy "Dave Chappelle's Block Party"), as the grim realities of the civil rights movement and Vietnam brings a sense of doom to their groovy Bohemian lifestyle.
There are some notable big-name guest cameos including Eddie Izzard, Salma Hayek, and Joe Cocker who pops up to magnificently deliver “Come Together,” a rousing “Welcome to New York” anthem that kicks the movie into high gear. There's also a colorful scene at a psychedelic party where Bono sings "I Am the Walrus."
All the actors do their own singing, rather impressively, and the songs which they sing illustrate their hopes, longings and fears and they all are as marvelous as you've always remembered them. What are the most breathtaking moments are the striking visuals brilliantly conceived by director Julie Taymor ("Frida"). And the familiar tunes absolutely bloom, given the terrifically soulful style in which they are sung by the cast.
While the film is overlong and not without a few problems, there is no denying that Across the Universe has made an impressive, distinctive and unforgettable contribution to the Hollywood musical genre. And after the success of "Chicago" and "Dreamgirls," you will soon be seeing even more of them coming to the screen. Hopefully they'll be as dazzling and inventive as this one.