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Beyond the Sea

  • compiled by Jeffrey Overstreet Copyright Christianity Today International
  • 2005 1 Jan
Beyond the Sea
from Film Forum, 01/06/05

Kevin Spacey all but becomes Bobby Darin for Beyond the Sea, and he directs the film as well. This, the latest in a long line of 2004 biopics, narrates Darin's story from a childhood plagued with illness to his rise to fame (on the strength of such songs as "Mack the Knife") and his obsession with becoming more famous than Frank Sinatra.

The film co-stars Brenda Blethyn, Bob Hoskins, John Goodman, and Kate Bosworth as his famous movie star wife Sandra Dee. And it's earning reviews that suggest Spacey's performance is the highlight of a film that's out of tune.

Michael Elliott (Movie Parables) says Spacey "is very impressive. His phrasing and tonal qualities match [Darin's] almost perfectly. Unfortunately the rest of the film doesn't measure up to the same standard of excellence. Perhaps Spacey decided to wear one or two hats too many."

But Brett Willis (Christian Spotlight) disagrees: "I wouldn't have believed [Spacey] could play Bobby Darin, project a high-quality singing voice, inject the same intrasong banter as in the original recordings, and nail the on-stage moves. But, lo and behold, he does. Amazing work. Some are viewing this as an ego trip, a vanity exercise. Well, if it works, it's not vanity. And viewed as pure entertainment, it's technically brilliant."

from Film Forum, 01/13/05

Tom Neven (Plugged In) writes, "Spacey captures [Bobby Darin's] tone, inflection and pacing perfectly. The story is set during a simpler time, and it's refreshing to see a man set out to pursue his wife-to-be with songs and flowers—a great contrast to today's tendency to show people jumping into bed on the first date. Unfortunately, Spacey ruins the effect by putting words into the mouths of his characters that are totally out of sync with the times, pulling audiences back into the rude, crude cinema of the '00s. The film's constant torrent of foul language … ultimately drags the entire story off the stage and out the back entrance."