And now, for another new series of blog posts. I call this one Things I Can’t Watch Without Crying. This is going to be similar to the Odd Media Archive in that I review pieces of media, but the theme here is videos, movies, scenes from movies and so on and so forth that I cannot watch without crying.
In the year 2007, a film was released called “Across the Universe.” Directed by Julie Taymor, the well-known creative mind behind the stage adaptation of Disney’s “The Lion King,” the film uses elaborate special effects, editing and choreography to tell the story of two lovers as they navigate their lives through the trials and tribulations that occurred throughout the 1960s. This film is a musical, and all of the songs sung therein are Beatles’ songs. You might call this a Beatles rock opera.
I remember when I first saw the trailer for “Across the Universe.” I thought it looked horrible. I got the impression that it was going to be a bunch of artsy-fartsy romantic nonsense. Having made that judgment, I did not see the film until the year 2009, by which time it had achieved somewhat of a cult status.
I did NOT pirate-download the film and watch it because that just would have been wrong. ::WINK:: Yarr.
I watched “Across the Universe” and I was impressed. It is indeed a good film all around. Good acting, good singing, good cinematography, well-written and engaging to watch.
Where this film really stands out is in one particular musical number. To introduce one of the characters in the story’s ensemble cast, it tells a mini-story of the death of said character’s little brother that occurs during the Detroit riot of 1967 and the death of the female protagonist’s boyfriend that occured during the Vietnam war. The whole scene is set to the Beatles’ song “Let It Be.” The dying boy sings the first few verses, and the song is completed by a gospel choir that sings at the boy’s funeral.
This number is powerful. It opens with the film’s female protagonist learning that her boyfriend was killed while fighting in Vietnam. Then, it transitions to the riot that is currently going on in Detroit. In the first half of this scene, each shot is composed of a lot of depressing violence and destruction that occurs during the riot. As the little boy sings, he conveys mixed feelings of hope and acceptance of his fate. The second half of the scene is set at the funeral, and in addition the sadness that innately pervades funerals, the intensity of the situation is augmented by the passion with which the choir sings the rest of the song. Throughout the number, you also see images of the dead boyfriend’s funeral and how his death affects other characters. To summarize, the “Let It Be” number is a montage of the ramifications of two untimely deaths.
This musical number my favorite part of the movie, and as the title of this post implies, I can’t watch it without crying.
See for yourself.