Pin It

DVD Review 

by Christine Beamer

Hollywood has finally renewed its love affair with musicals. After the early 1970s, it seemed that directors got tired of adapting musicals to film. But like all good fashion trends, what's old becomes new again, and the result is feel-good musicals like Beyond the Sea.

The movie follows the life of Bobby Darin, a crooner and an American teen idol in the 1950s and '60s. The movie, which is both directed by and stars Kevin Spacey, primarily centers on Darin's music, his family -- especially his wife, Sandra Dee (well acted by Kate Bosworth) -- and his drive to become a star. Rheumatic fever in his youth left Darin's heart weakened permanently, so he tried to accomplish everything he could before his heart gave out at age 36.

Like several other recent movie musicals, Beyond the Sea imagines that Darin is creating a movie about his own life. The film has a prominent fantasy element, as Spacey, 46, plays a man half his age and has conversations with Darin's childhood self (played by William Ullrich). It has wonderful whimsical sequences -- people dancing in the street to Darin's music, Darin's wooing of Dee -- that match Darin's fantastical lyrics and sugary pop. The most impressive part is that Spacey sings all Darin's songs himself, almost daring us to sing along with the infectious melodies.

The movie stands as an affirmation of humanity and poignancy. Bobby Darin overcame daunting obstacles to become, as Darin himself put it, "bigger than Sinatra." The film has garnered criticism for glossing over the problems in Darin's life and in his relationship with Dee, but it is refreshing to see a film that points out problems without beating the audience over the head with them.

The movie's only drawback is the immense amount of time Spacey spends onscreen. Other characters are marginalized in order to let viewers watch Spacey sing another song. The relationship between Dee and Darin could have been deeper -- and more factual (after all, Darin divorced Dee in 1967, a fact conveniently ignored in the movie). Yet adding more elements of Darin's life would have also taken the focus off Darin's music -- and the music is exactly where the focus belongs.

  • Pin It

Latest in News

  • Token Democracy
  • Token Democracy

    Would letting Washington voters give taxpayer money to politicians reduce the power of interest groups — or just subsidize politicians?
    • Oct 20, 2016

    Breaking down some of the issues you'll get to vote on this year
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • Shea's World
  • Shea's World

    As Matt Shea seeks re-election, his presence may be felt more in other local races than in his own
    • Oct 20, 2016
  • More »


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Today | Sat | Sun | Mon | Tue | Wed | Thu
Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion

Bodies Human: Anatomy in Motion @ Mobius Science Center

Tuesdays-Sundays. Continues through Dec. 31

All of today's events | Staff Picks

More by Christine Beamer

  • Go Gothic

    Drive by the Cathedral of St. John the Evangelist some Thursday evening in July and you will surely hear the dulcet tones of bells that appear to be ringing from the very sky. This is the sound of the carillon, a musical instrument loc
    • Jun 29, 2005
  • A Century of Service

    The evidence of their service is everywhere -- look at the daffodils planted all along the Centennial Trail, the Children's Fire Safety House making its rounds to area elementary schools all year, newly painted park benches in Riverfron
    • Jun 2, 2005
  • More »

Most Commented On

  • The Do-Over

    After failing to pass a bus service tax hike last year, Spokane Transit Authority has a plan to get you to vote for it again
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • Pants on Fire

    U.S. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers can't see the forest for the trees when it comes to climate change
    • Oct 6, 2016
  • More »

Top Tags in
News & Comment



green zone


trail mix

Readers also liked…

  • Patrolling While Black
  • Patrolling While Black

    Gordon Grant's nearly 30 years as a Spokane cop have been affected by race, but that's not the whole story
    • Jul 8, 2015
  • Hopeless for Heroin
  • Hopeless for Heroin

    As heroin deaths continue to rise in Washington state, what can a parent do to save a child from the depths of addiction?
    • Jul 29, 2015

© 2016 Inlander
Website powered by Foundation