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Mixed or average reviews - based on 29 Critics What's this?

User Score
7.3

Generally favorable reviews- based on 231 Ratings

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  • Starring: ,
  • Summary: Across the Universe is a love story set against the backdrop of the 1960s amid the turbulent years of antiwar protest, mind exploration, and rock and roll. The film moves from the dockyards of Liverpool and the creative psychedelia of Greenwich Village to the riot-torn streets of Detroit and the killing fields of Vietnam. The star-crossed lovers, Jude and Lucy are swept up into the emerging antiwar-counterculture movements. They are also joined by a small group of friends and musicians, with "Dr. Robert" and "Mr. Kite" as their guides. Tumultuous forces outside their control ultimately tear the young lovers apart, forcing Jude and Lucy--against all odds--to find their own way back to each other. (Columbia Pictures) Expand
Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 18 out of 29
  2. Negative: 4 out of 29
  1. 100
    Here is a bold, beautiful, visually enchanting musical where we walk INTO the theater humming the songs.
  2. Reviewed by: Ian Nathan
    80
    A load of kids singing Beatles tunes? You better believe it.
  3. 75
    Across the Universe can't achieve the transcendence and exhilaration musicals strive for, but it often generates a singular kind of magic you've never experienced before.
  4. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    63
    While style trumps substance, something in the way this '60s tribute moves attracts us.
  5. 63
    An interesting failure, not a fascinating one.
  6. 50
    Elements of Across the Universe are shockingly awful and the film lasts at least 30 minutes past the bearable stage. But if you like the Beatles and the idea of hearing about 20 covers of their work fills you with a perverse joy, this may be the movie for you.
  7. Across the Universe will have ardent defenders, but in the long run, it will do nothing to infuse life into the current mini-revival of movie musicals and is as soft-headed as the wishful refrain “All You Need Is Love.” Maybe that works in real life but not in the movies, sister.

See all 29 Critic Reviews

Score distribution:
  1. Positive: 92 out of 132
  2. Negative: 32 out of 132
  1. Nov 14, 2010
    10
    Across the Universe is quite a ride, but your experience is largely dependent on how much you love The Beatles. The first third of the movie is pretty great, the energy and acting there is perhaps the most superb in the entire film. The second third loses me a bit, as it goes to a mood similar to LSD and is filled with missing plot points and irrelevant numbers. However, what does happen there is essential to the final third, in which the movie picks itself up after tripping to finish well with respectable songs, good acting and a satisfying though clichéd ending. The music covers range from outstanding to simply "meh"; for every marvelous "I've Just Seen a Face" or "While My Guitar Gently Weeps" there is a stiff "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite!" or "I Wanna Hold Your Hand". The storyline is present, but seems to be mainly abandoned in the distracting second third, though that may perfectly reflect the confusion and turmoil of the era. Acting overall is quite good-Jim Sturgess stands out as an excellent lead with Bono, Martin Luther McCoy and Joe Anderson also contributing.
    *I can basically cut the crap now and just say that the movie is well made, although some sections will make you want to cringe with their overwhelming length and irrelevance. The beginning is great, the middle stumbles over itself and the end comes back just in time to save the film. There are some great moments in this film and is an excellent tribute to the band that taught the world to sing. If you enjoy the Beatles or a good musical, watch it and see for yourself. It certainly has faults and areas you just want to skip over, but so does life. Perhaps there's some reason for that.
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  2. Dec 1, 2011
    10
    Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever.Best movie ever. Go and see it. Now Expand
  3. Sep 8, 2012
    10
    A musical is a movie where music is used as a piece of constancy, not as utensil for buying the viewers easy boredom. That's what musicals nowadays don't understand (like High School Musical, Camp Rock, etc.) But Across the Universe truly makes a difference. It isn't the lame, disturbing-to-see type of musical: In fact, this is the first of the two musicals where I actually get impressed and potently pleased with what the movie delivers, othe other one being Hairpsray. It's groundbreaking, spectacular, extraordinarily rare and crazy, but not for the faint of heart. I loved it! Expand
  4. Jun 13, 2013
    7
    This review contains spoilers, click expand to view. First and foremost this is an entertaining movie with a great soundtrack and wonderful visuals to match the scene and songs. If you like the Beatles and musicals you will definitely enjoy this film. It is not perfect and sometimes seems contrived but overall I was impressed with the production, singing and setting. Strawberry Fields Forever though was quite awful.

    My biggest gripe is the weak closing of the film. The story builds, characters grow, everyone suffers in some way, and in the end everyone comes together again. Yet as we see Jude and Lucy gazing at eachother across the rooftops I wanted a little bit more. Just seeing what each character did after that rooftop gig would have given the audience satisfaction instead of the quick ending we received.
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  5. Aug 27, 2010
    4
    At times it is a visual masterpiece, but other times it is a sprawling mess of jumbled story arcs. The actual music is very well integrated in the movie, but that doesn't mean I would listen to any of the covers over the original Beatles version. All in all, this movie just seems unnecessary in this day and age of cinema - the 1960s were an interesting time, but this movie just flies through all of the controversial aspects without any real effort to look at why they were going on; it fills that hole with teen angst and a rather weak and predictably bland storyline. Expand
  6. Feb 7, 2012
    3
    I love the Beatles but this movie is just horrible. It's horribly pretentious and is very forced. There are characters thrown in just for the sake of some how tying in another song. The only positives this movie has is the music, but I can get that on my Ipod with out all the needless crap. The other positive is there is some very good cinematography but the vast majority of it was in the trailer. The think that irritated me most was the worthless cameos by Bono and Eddie Izzard. They were un-needed and a waste of their talent. Go out and buy a Beatles album and avoid this movie. Expand
  7. Dec 1, 2010
    2
    The film ultimately comes across as one mega-gimmick. This is a musical that does not use the soundtrack to enhance the plot and character development like most musicals. Rather the plot is used as a clumsy device to shoot from one song or reference to the other, often inexplicably. For instance, the female lead is named Lucy, solely for the purpose of playing "Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds" which ends up seeming nonsensical in the greater context of the film; the pinnacle of this is the director's interpretation of "Dear Prudence," which features the group singing the lyrics "Dear Prudence, won't you come out to play?" to a secondary character named none other than... Prudence who has locked herself in a closet in a fit of teen angst. It could be argued that the scene contains a deeper meaning in that Prudence is revealed to be a lesbian (not coincidentally in a scene that makes no sense in the larger scope of the narrative) and that this is the group urging her to "be herself," this however is ultimately lost in the almost comical absurdity of the scene. Situations such as this present themselves often in ACROSS THE UNIVERSE, and I couldn't help but feel that during every single musical selection or reference to THE BEATLES or their work that the movie itself was nudging me with its elbow, constantly asking if I got what it did there. The end result is a musical that is hindered by its use of soundtrack as opposed to being aided by it and thinks far too highly of itself in the process.

    Pros: There's some pretty things to look at.
    Cons: Plot? who needs plot when you have a soundtrack.
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See all 132 User Reviews