The Beatles and the Psychedelic 60s: Across the Universe
Of the many movies that pay homage to the Beatles’ legendary legacy, Julie Taymor’s Across the Universe is one of the very few that got the thumbs-up from the Beatles members themselves. Written for the big screen by Dick Clement and Ian La Frenais, Across the Universe takes us back to the hippie, flower-power era that shook and stirred our consciousness and woke the world from their spiritual slumber.
Across the Universe depicted actual 1960’s events interspersed with the lives of a group of Beatles-inspired characters, led by Jude Feeny (played by Jim Sturgess) and Lucy Carrigan (Evan Rachel Wood). The names of virtually all the characters that appeared in the movie were drawn from Beatles songs: Jude Feeny (Hey Jude), Lucy Carrigan (Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds), Maxwell Carrigan (Maxwell’s Silver Hammer), Sadie (Sexy Sadie), Prudence (Dear Prudence), and tons more.
The main plot of the story revolved around Jude Feeny, whose life progression resembled that of John Lennon’s — who left Liverpool to pursue personal freedom and his love for music. Across the Universe also depicted the social movements and awakenings that pervaded the 60’s, among which was the fight for peace and non-violence during the Vietnam War, as well as the violent anti-war student protest at the Columbia University.
Paul McCartney and Yoko Ono were said to be in touch with director Julie Taymor throughout the film production, and even Ringo Starr and Olivia Harrison praised the movie after seeing it. According to an interview with Evan Rachel Wood and Jim Sturgess, the actors said that they had the honor of watching their movie with no less than former-Beatles member, Ringo Starr.
Celebrity cameos in the movie include U2’s Bono as Dr. Robert, and Salma Hayek, who personally requested director Julie Taymor to include her in the movie. Aside from the Beatles, the movie also referenced other popular musical acts and prominent personalities of the 60’s like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, Dr. Timothy Leary, Jackson Pollock, etc. This Across the Universe motion picture poster is ideal for Beatles fanatics, as well as 21st century hippies, who live by the credo of peace, love, and freedom — the main components of the hippie ideology.