Across the Universe – Pop Culture/American History
Across the Universe, released September 2007, for the most part takes place in New York during the 1960’s and touches on the youth culture in America at the time. The movie revolves around many central characters all inspired by songs by The Beatles. Jude (“Hey Jude”), Max (“Maxwell Silver Hammer”), Lucy (“Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds”), and Jojo (“Get Back”) are a few examples. The movie is also full of slight and apparent Beatles references, such as the name for Sadie’s record company, “Strawberry Jamz”, inspired by The Beatles own “Apple Corps”.
There are also other things that aren’t Beatles-related but still relevant to the culture, for example Cafe Huh? that’s featured in the film. It’s based on the real-life Cafe Wha? in Greenwich Village where artists such as Bob Dylan played to college age kids. The film also touches on the drug scene during the decade, showing the characters smoking marijuana and having a discussion about heroin. Many scenes in the film also have psychedelic periods, either while the characters are under the influence, like in “I Am the Walrus”, or to present the viewer with visual symbolism, like in “I Want You (She’s So Heavy)”.
I personally enjoyed how they combined Beatles music and historical events to entertain the viewer. Bringing in student protests, The Detroit Riots, drug culture, the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the draft all make this movie very 1960’s. Though some musical scenes seemed forced at times, the movie was overall “a trip”, and I think both casual watchers and Beatles fans alike can enjoy it.