(out of 5)
Julie Taymor follows her brilliant biography of Frida Kahlo with this completely soulless exercise in style, an exploration of the birth of 1960s counter-culture using songs by the Beatles as its main score. A Liverpudlian boy named Jude (get it?) jumps ship and ends up in New York City, falls in love with a girl named Lucy (GET IT?) and they set out to change the world. Motivating them is the increasingly unpopular American involvement in Vietnam that has summoned Lucy’s brother and Jude’s best friend Max (Joe Anderson) overseas. The actors sing the songs beautifully but perform them without spirit, Jim Sturgess perpetually relaxed and Evan Rachel Wood always stony, their characters unrelatable and their attraction to each other a complete mystery. Anderson is the only sign of life as Max, but he can’t save this film from the disaster it is. Bruno Delbonnel’s cinematography and Albert Wolsky’s creative costume designs are gorgeous, but none of this can mask the fact that the story barely skims the surface of themes it’s exploring and the musical interludes are not well justified. Look for a cameo by Salma Hayek.
Directed by Julie Taymor
Cinematography by Bruno Delbonnel
Music by Elliot Goldenthal
Production Design by Mark Friedberg
Costume Design by Albert Wolsky
Film Editing by Francoise Bonnot