Across the Universe

The nominations:

  • Achievement in Costume Design: Albert Wolsky

The black-and-white:

I won’t spend a lot of time on this review. Shortly into this 2hr11 minute film I thought, if the costumes were just a bit better, this film could really soar. Let me repeat: I was drawn to how horrible the costumes were. Not the story. Not the music. Not the cinematography. Just bad, bad costumes.

To be honest, at this stage, I didn’t know why the film was nominated; I just knew it was. I started to suspect it was because of the music (all Beatles, redone … interestingly, and I do mean that in a good way) , but I was wrong.

The very thing I thought may help the story if they were just done a bit better – the costumes – turned out to be the very category for which the movie was nominated.

So either I’ve missed something, or the Academy has.

In my defense, let me just say 2 words: “The Departed”.

So now you trust me.

Here is the oscar.com synopsis of the movie:

Against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s, an American girl falls in love with a young Englishman who has moved to the U.S. For Lucy and Jude and their circle of friends, a decade marked by social rebellion and the Vietnam War will alter their relationships and reshape the course of their lives.

Not a bad movie. Certainly not a great one. The reincarnation of the Beatles music, forming the heartbeat of the movie, was well done. It was perhaps a bit forced to make Beatles tunes drive the plot line, but it more of less worked. However, musically speaking, it was not as interesting as other great achievements this year (like Once).

As far as costume design goes: for the first time in my life, I thought the costumes actually took away from the film. Really. I think this is the first time I really thought about the impact of costumes in such a central way — and they blew.

Outside of the Oscars: this film is a decent rental. The reproduction, in creative ways, of some fun Beatles songs makes it worth the view, with one qualifier: at over 2hrs running time, the music only takes you so far. It’s a long and winding road.

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