I had this one sitting on my desk for 2 weeks at least from Blockbuster online rental. I had read somewhere that it was good, and I have always absolutely loved Bobby Darin’s voice and style. But I was not prepared for this amazing movie.
Beyond the Sea really affected me in a deep and profound way. I find that most intelligent movies do this to me, and I’m not really sure why, but my whole being is touched by movies that have powerful themes like Gladiator, A Beautiful Mind, Vanilla Sky, Signs, Road to Perdition, and many others. My mood, thinking, and perspective on my life is challenged when I watch movies like this, and Beyond the Sea is another one to add to the list now. I think it is the deeply moving, intelligent, thought-provoking movies that I watch that I can identify with that affect me most. I was not able to communicate exactly why this is so to Lynn last night at midnight, and I rarely am able to put into rational thought what this effect is, but I’ll try to make some sense here. I suppose that as a result this will be partly an attempt at a movie review and partly a peek into my soul. =:)
Beyond the Sea is an excellent movie, which I very much recommend, for many reasons. First, the subject material is fascinating to me. Bobby Darin had one of those unique and distinctive voices, styles, and personas that I always admired, still enjoy, and never really learned much about. Beyond the Sea is the story of his life, told through his eyes–both as a child and as a grown-up. And I will try not to ruin the movie or his life’s story but Bobby Darin had an amazingly difficult life! He had rheumatic fever and was not supposed to live past the age of 15. He had lived his life not knowing who his father or mother were until he was well into his 30’s. He married this amazingly beautiful woman who he sought after with all of his heart (I identify with this part, since I fell completely in love much the same with Lynn).
He was amazingly noble and chivalrous, and there is a part in the movie where Bobby Darin is trying to cope with his just-married wife who is terrified of living/being married/sleeping with Bobby, and Bobby tells her this story about a knight who was protecting Lady Guinevere and laid his sheathed sword down the middle of the bed and told her that he will never cross over that sword–that she was the only one who could cross over it and touch him, even if it took a thousand nights. WOW! I’m getting all teary-eyed just now remembering the scene. What amazing love!! I identify with that kind of love!! That’s the kind of love that I know God, my Heavenly Father, has for me and all of us. That’s the kind of love that I feel in my own heart for my wife Lynn and our three beautiful children. I would give my own life to protect them and love them.
Bobby Darin was an AMAZING performer and artist. He was constantly driven to be a better person, a better artist, never satisfied to do what everyone else was doing, never content to do what he’d done before. I totally identify with that! That is why I have such unrest in my job right now. That is my nature and personality. That is why I push myself so hard. That is why I am involved in the KDE project and several other Open Source projects. That is why I stay up until 3 in the morning and write code, fix bugs, solve problems, figure puzzles out.
Bobby Darin also found that in the middle of his life, his life was not what he thought it to be. He had marital problems. He was so driven to be a success in music that he sacrificed his beautiful wife and children for it. He left them and lived in a trailer home on the side of a mountain at one point. How tragic!! I can identify here too with life not being all that you’d hoped it to be. And I see a warning for myself and my family here too–a realization that the same forces, personality, and drive that Bobby had exist in me, and that if they do not remain in balance, my family and life could be destroyed too. I pray with my whole heart that this does not happen, and will continue to strive to keep these forces in balance with God’s laws and the needs of my wife and children. But the warning is there nonetheless, and it is a visually powerful one and utterly tragic in the movie.
Secondly, the movie itself is extremely well-crafted. Visually, it is stunning and captivating. It is intelligently thought out, beautifully choreographed, very wonderfuly acted, extremely well-put-together, has an amazing soundtrack and score all throughout and it is well-filmed. It is movie-craft at its finest, in my book. It has its rough language spots, to be sure, but this little beauty has made that problem much less of one.
Beyond the Sea was produced, written, and directed by Kevin Spacey. And, of course, Kevin Spacey played the part of Bobby Darin, and did all of the dance numbers. But what I was absolutely stunned by was Kevin’s voice. He actually sang all of the Bobby Darin songs himself. WOW. You just simply must hear the great job he did. It was, in a word, perfect. Kevin Spacey’s voice is phenomenal, truly, and he did great justice to Bobby Darin in Beyond the Sea. I cannot imagine another singer’s voice which would have done it as well. And this was a big surprise to me, since I had no idea that Kevin Spacey had any kind of musical background at all. I had always pictured Kevin Spacey as a completely different kind of actor from his other movies, and when I first saw that it was he who was to play Bobby Darin, I thought that surely the movie wouldn’t be that good. I was very wrong. =:)
Beyond the Sea was a 5-year labor-of-love project for Kevin Spacey, and apparently there were some major problems along the way. Yet all involved kept at it, did not quit or waver, and as a result, Beyond the Sea exists and exists beautifully. I am really surprised that I have not heard more about it. It is a great movie–entertaining, intelligent, thought-provoking, deep, beautiful, and rich. Go see it.