(2007) Don't be too quick to judge; give it some time. As this film progresses into its second half, director Julie Taymor makes it better, better, better. This song-filled - live action with animation sequences - musical adaptation of a score of Beatles tunes (none sung by the original Fab Four but mostly affectively delivered with some fresh associations) tries to capture the events, emotions, and themes of the late 1960s within a love story.
A Liverpool lad, Jude (Jim Sturgess, looking somewhat like a young Paul McCartney), leaves employment in the shipyard, his mum, and his girlfriend Molly ("All my loving I will send to you"), for America, where he finds his dad (who as a soldier in England during World War II "walked out" on Martha Feeney when Jude was "just a bun in the oven"), working as a janitor at Princeton University and married with two kids.
By chance Jude makes acquaintance with Max Carrigan (Joe Anderson), an irresponsible (from a building roof on campus he and his buddies hit golf balls off bottle tees into windows), unmotivated college student and son of a lawyer, who introduces Jude to his family at Thanksgiving, including his beautiful, blonde sister Lucy (Evan Rachel Wood), a senior in high school. Lucy's boyfriend Danny, an American patriot, ends up in Vietnam after enlisting in the Army; she tells a friend that she never intends to have children ("pure narcissism").
Max insists his British buddy Jude needs "a bar, a brawl, and a brothel." Dropping out of school ("Who you are defines what you do," Max argues with his father and uncle, not the other way around), he and Jude go off to New York City, renting rooms from sexy Sadie (Dana Fuchs), a singer in the Club Huh?
Following two funerals - a soldier killed in Vietnam and a black child during a riot - Jo-Jo (Martin Luther McCoy) takes his electric guitar on a Greyhound bus to New York City ("Come Together" sung by whores and pimps) as Lucy comes up to see her brother with a letter of induction ("a date with Uncle Sam"). Meanwhile Prudence (T.V. Carpio) from Dayton, Ohio, comes into Max and Jude's rooms out of the rain through the bathroom window; they all sing "Dear Prudence" to her when she locks herself in a closet. Jo-Jo (looking like Jimi Hendrix) joins Sadie's act at the club; Jude, lacking a visa, enjoys a "weird kind of freedom," putting his artistic talent to work designing a logo of a smashed, bloody strawberry ("Strawberry Fields Forever" symbolizes the killing fields in Southeast Asia) for Sadie's record label.
Dismissing "jail or Canada" as viable options, Max goes through the military physical ("I Want You/He's So Heavy") - among the best scenes in the movie - and becomes a soldier. Everyone else protests and parties, taking a road trip (color negative) on the psychedelic bus with Dr Robert (Bono) - "I Am the Walrus" from California who says, "You're either on the bus or you're off the bus" - dropping (like LSD) them off at the site of "transcendental perception" where Mr Kite (Eddie Izzard) has a spectacular show for them.
After Paco gives Lucy, who's becomes an activist against LBJ's war, a TV set to watch the conflicted conflict in her living/loving room, Jude objects to the intrusion and revolts against her by singing "Revolution." Following the assassination of Dr Martin Luther King Jr, Jo-Jo plays "While My Guitar Gently Weeps," and Jude, lacking a cause worth fight for, sings "Nothing's gonna change my world."
During the protest at Columbia University, where Lucy and Paco get arrested, Jude gets hauled in as well, exposing his undocumented status. In a military hospital, Max recalls the atrocities (milky-white Asian girls disappearing into the water) and receives an injection (a syringe containing a female homunculus) of morphine ("Happiness Is a Warm Gun"); later in a bar he beckons his friend back with "Hey, Jude." It all ends on a rooftop reminiscent of the Beatles performance for their last album together, Let It Be.
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