Across the Universe

  • Directors: Julie Taymor
  • Producers: Jennifer Todd, Suzanne Todd, Charles Newirth
  • Writers: Julie Taymor, Dick Clement, Ian La Frenais
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, Musical, Romance
  • Actors: Evan Rachel Wood, Jim Sturgess, Joe Anderson, Dana Fuchs, Martin Luther McCoy, T V Carpio

The film’s plot and narrative structure interweave the stories of several characters whose lives cross paths during events set against the backdrop of the turbulent late-1960s. The story apparently takes place from about 1965 to 1969.[1]

The story begins in Liverpool, England with a young shipyard worker named Jude Feeny (Jim Sturgess). Against the wishes of both his mother and his girlfriend Molly, Jude enlists in the merchant navy and travels by ship to the United States. He jumps ship in New York City to search for his American G.I. father, Wes Hubert (Robert Clohessy), whom he has never met and who does not know he exists. He learns that his father works at Princeton as a janitor. After meeting his father, Jude has nowhere to go. He befriends a Princeton student, Max Carrigan (Joe Anderson). Max is a rebellious and eccentric young man from a privileged background. Max and his friends come from upper class families who pay for their schooling, so they mess around, drink, and do drugs. When Max goes home for Thanksgiving, bringing Jude with him, Jude meets Max’s younger sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood). After a heated argument with his parents about his future, Max drops out of college and moves to New York City, accompanied by Jude. Max works as a taxi driver, while Jude pursues work as a freelance artist. They become roommates in a bohemian enclave in the Village, where they share an apartment with others, most notably Sadie (Dana Fuchs), their landlady, who is an aspiring singer and a representation of Janis Joplin. Other residents include Jojo (Martin Luther McCoy), a guitarist representing Jimi Hendrix, who arrives from Detroit after the death of his younger brother during the 12th Street Riot; and Prudence (T. V. Carpio), a young woman who has hitchhiked to New York from Dayton, Ohio where she was seen pining after a fellow cheerleader. After Lucy’s boyfriend, Daniel (Spencer Liff) is killed in Vietnam, she goes to New York to visit Max before she starts college, despite the fact that her parents are against the idea.

The scene now shifts between Jude and Max at different bars, and Max begins to sing “Hey Jude” as Jude goes back to New York. Max picks him up from the port and drives him to hear Sadie and Jojo sing “Don’t Let Me Down” atop a building, in reference to the last concert of The Beatles, on the rooftop of the Apple Records building in London, where the band played some songs, Don’t Let Me Down included. Jude then sings “All You Need is Love” a cappella. The refrain from “She Loves You” plays briefly over the song as Lucy is revealed to be watching Jude sing from a neighboring rooftop. Over the credits, Bono (with background vocals by The Edge) sings “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds.” “Flying” is reprised in a cover version by The Secret Machines.

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