NOTE: A great first time spoiler sent in by Draith who says..."Across the universe follows the main character, Jude, who not only resembles the Beatles themselves (especially McCartney), but represents the feeling and movement of their music."
The movie starts out with him in Liverpool (after a neat singsong on the beach with just him... his voice does the Beatles' songs quite well), working in a ship yard, girlfriend, etc. He's talking about going to America for a break on life. Also in the start (and this synchronicity is done throughout the flick), there's a dancing scene to an old cover song, where Jude and his girlfriend are dancing in a nightclub type deal and this other blondie girl is shown with her blondie boyfriend (clearly American context) in bright 60's colors and clothing. Her boyfriend is leaving for the military, and she's about to graduate from High School.
Jude makes his way to Princeton University, searching for a person we have not heard of yet, whom he thinks is a professor. We encounter a man running through campus with papers flying everywhere, who runs into Jude, and Jude helps him pick them up, asking about Professor Hubert. The young man says he's pissed off all the professors, and there is no Hubert. However, there's a Huber around, and points... to a custodian on a ladder fixing a window or something on the wall. Jude makes his way over, asking about him and it comes out that he is the man's son, and that's why Jude is looking there. We learn later that Jude's mother is unaware of his intentions to meet his father. He does not get involved with his father or his father's family, however.
After a group of rascals shoot golf balls into a window, we again meet the hurried young man who hides out in the maintenance hallway with Jude as he runs by. We learn his name is Max, and confirm that Jude is from Liverpool when he tells Max. Jude hangs out with Max and his friends, who get high and drunk and all the things a young person in the 60's does. Up through here and throughout the rest of the movie, the plot is accompanied by Beatles songs (obviously) sung by the cast and supporting cast. Max takes Jude home, where we again see the young high school girl, who turns out to be Max's sister, Lucy.
By this time, we have met a young Asian girl who, while cheerleading at what seems to be a high school football practice, sings "I Want to Hold Your Hand," and looks at a couple chatting... but when he moves away, she still looks at the girl, letting us know she's not after the boys. She packs her bags and hitch-hikes, at the same time Jude is shown trying to catch a ride after landing on the boat. She eventually does, and we don't see her again until a bit later.
After a fight at Max and Lucy's house regarding Max lack of educational enthusiasm, Max and Jude strike out for New York, getting an apartment rented by a striking singer named Sadie. Soon after, Lucy watches the officers drive up to her boyfriend's house, and give his mother the news that he has been killed in the Chicago riot. We are shown images of the riot, while a small but powerful voice begins "Let It Be." We're shown a small black boy crouched behind a burning frame of a car, singing the song while others are shot, soldiers shout orders, windows break, etc. We then move to the funeral procession for Lucy's boyfriend, and also are shown a funeral attended only of African American folks, and a gospel choir takes over the singing. We watch the flag folding for Lucy's boyfriend, and then suddenly see that the African American person who died in the riot was indeed the small boy who was singing. We see the little boy's older brother (or so we assume, as we are never told outright) at the funeral, and he packs his bags and heads out, with "I Am The Walrus" providing his theme.
Lucy heads to New York for the summer, instead of going with her parents on vacation, and once again meets Jude as the group heads to Sadie's performance in a nightclub. She and Jude clearly have sparks again, as they did when they met at Max's house. Lucy stays with them, after the older brother of the boy who died in the riot shows up to audition for a guitar playing gig at Sadie's place, and gets it, soulfully playing and staying at Sadie's as well. As we are shown this whole group, (just before Lucy comes to NY), a wet, ragged girl with a black eye crawls through the bathroom window, and it is the same hitch-hiker we saw earlier, whose name we learn is Prudence, and she was staying across the street but the man she was with hit her and it was "a mistake." Prudence also stays at Sadie's.
Lucy gives Max a letter she says she was dreading to give him, and it's a draft notice. They discuss many ways to avoid the draft (such as swallowing lots of cotton since it shows up as a shadow on an x-ray...), and Max burns the letter, though Jo-Jo (the guitar player is named shortly before this) says he can burn the paper, but he still has to show (at internment). Max eventually does, and there is a flourish at the internment center (to the song "I Want You") after which he's asked why he shouldn't serve, he states he is a homosexual, something else taboo, and that he has a spot on his lung. The officer merely says "as long as you don't have flat feet," and stamps his papers. Max is enlisted.
As a last hurrah, and after Sadie is offered a record deal (solo) and meets the people behind the label at a huge party, the group follows a Californian hippie singer named Dr. Robert (played by Bono) on his search in his huge hippie bus for another soul just like him that he hasn't met. They get there, and the other won't see Robert, so he leaves for California, stranding the group of New Yorkians who aren't planning to go West. Max thinks they've wasted his last good time before the army by getting stranded, but Lucy hears music and they follow it to a strange display in a nearby field, and they enter a tent that appears and have a circus type show before them featuring the song "Being For the Benefit of Mr. Kite." It's quite groovy, and they exit the tent (which is much too small to house a circus) in a cloud of smoke...
Before Max goes away, the small group is shown at an anti-war rally, and see a activist leader who Lucy meets later and gets a job for at their campaign headquarters. His name is Paco. Jude and Lucy get together before Max leaves, and he focuses a lot on art, drawing her and many other things. They are quite clearly in love by this time. Jo-Jo and Sadie have also coupled, and Prudence has shown expressions of love for Sadie, though they are obviously unrequited and cause her enough pain to eventually run away from the group, after a scene where she hid in the closet and the group sang "Dear Prudence" to her. She is seen at the Circus event previously mentioned, and rejoins the group with her female lover (who she says is a contortionist... interesting).
Lucy slowly and steadily gets more and more into the anti-war activist movement, taking her time away from Jude, who, as he says "doesn't exist" because of his lack of a Visa (which becomes important later), and they fight over his lack of attitude and "drawing cartoons and doodles" instead of doing something about it like Lucy is. At one point Jude gets drunk and has a fight in the activist HQ, singing "Say You Want A Revolution" at them, quite foreshadowingly... he gets punched and thrown out, to Lucy's angerment and she moves out of their appartment space and in with Paco.
Jo-Jo and Sadie also have problems over her record deal, and they fight on-stage while singing "Oh Darling" at a concert, and Sadie leaves the stage, expressing how no, she doesn't need Jo-Jo, and gets in the car with the manager that offered her the record deal, and Jo-Jo and the rest of the band finish the song and the concert.
There are a few scenes with Max in Vietnam, watching friends die, wide-eyed and shooting until he's all alone. He comes home wounded, and there is a hospital scene with a dancing priest, all the soldiers singing "Happiness Is A Warm Gun." Soon, there is a riot at a goverment building, and Paco and Lucy are there as their group is heading it. On the way to the riot, Jude rides the subway and sings "Across The Universe," reflecting on his time with Lucy. The police come to squash the riot, and Paco is carried out handcuffed, getting punched for not cooperating, and right behind him is Lucy, who screams and fights at Paco being hurt and gets more forcibly carried. Jude spots her, and calls out to her, and she calls for him, but since he's fighting to get to her, he gets hit by cops and bloodied as the others are carried off. "Helter Skelter" is played during this, sung by Sadie quite dramatically.
Jude winds up in jail, and we see everyone leave on bail slowly as only he remains. He recieves a visitor, and it is his father, who we have not seen since Princeton campus. He says he told them that he was an American citizen, and Jude was his son, but they wanted proof so he couldn't help. They agreed to drop the charges at the riot, but it was an immigration issue, and Jude was being kicked out of the country. His father asks if he told his mother Jude met him, and he didn't, but said he would. They end their meeting well, and Jude goes back to England, where his girlfriend has married his friend, and is pregnant, saying they hooked up two weeks after Jude stopped writing. She asks who it was that made him stop writing, and he says it was Lucy, and it was good for a while but then it didn't work. He goes home, with no work and no girlfriend, not seeming happy at all.
We switch back to Lucy, who is much more involved in the activist movement, and Max has recovered though is affected by the war mentally, and has become rather distant. There is a march on the Pentagon, in which we see Paco leading, and Lucy in a phonebooth talking to her mother saying things aren't that bad, and aren't changed so much, but her boyfriend is dead, Max is "fucked up," and the war needs to end, etc, etc... She hangs up with her mom, looks around as cops show up yet again, and there's a gunshot to the booth, though the glass does not break, and she stays in there huddled while the riot takes on violence outside.
She comes home to the HQ of the activists, where everything is cleaned out, and she goes upstairs to find Paco and two others making explosives with timers. He says simply "close the door, Lucy." She looks stunned, stating "I thought the other side were the ones who dropped bombs." And walks out, leaving Paco who merely goes back to work on the bombs, not seeming in the least affected by her.
We switch back to Jude, who (with a guitar playing the beginning of "A Day In The Life" without words) picks up a newspaper (fittingly) and sees on the front pages "American Activists Killed In Home-Made Bomb Explosion" showing the front of the house with Paco's headquarters. Jude is horrified, and the paper explodes in computer imagery (which is used throughout the flick in general), and he's seen on the beach with the pieces all around him, assuming that Lucy is dead for all he knows.
Soon we see him sitting in a pub, getting a glass of beer, and there's concurrent images of Max in a bar drinking at last-call. Jude's bar has Jo-Jo with a guitar beginning to play and sing Harrison's "While My Guitar Gently Weeps." Soon after, Max begins to sing "Hey Jude" and is shown in the mirror across from Jude so that they are seen side by side, as if Max is singing directly to Jude, which the song by this point fits perfectly. Jude realizes what he needs to do, and heads out of the bar, packs his things again, his mother singing along for the "let it out and let it in" line showing her understanding and approval of his leaving, and he is followed for the "na na na na"s in town by many kids and other town members as he leaves for America, getting his visa at the NY port office. We see Max sitting on a car at the gate, and when he spots Jude, he's the one to stand and shout out the song's "Judey-Judey-Judey-Judey!" part, and they embrace at a running hug, and leave together in a taxi which Max drives.
Max tells Jude that Lucy doesn't know he's back, and Jude seems to think this is better. Max says that they are late, and on the radio Sadie can be heard, with full band... (she had earlier been seen after a show complaining the sound was bad and that she needs someone who can actually play the guitar, who has feeling to it... obviously missing Jo-Jo).
There is Jo-Jo with her again, and even Prudence playing a small almost toy-looking piano with them as Jude and Max head onto the rooftop and reunited with their old friends. Lucy is seen on the street exiting a taxi as crowds of people come to the building hearing the blaring rooftop music. She is holding a piece of paper, and tries the door, but can't get in, and looks a bit sad, walking away. The police show very shortly, and tell the band that they have no permit, are disturbing the peace, and have to leave the roof, and are escorted off by the cops, though Jude hides. Max asks where he is, and "where the hell is my sister," and Prudence says that she gave Lucy the address. As they are going down the stairs, Jude is seen on the roof through the stairway door, and he looks over the rooftop, sees no one, and moves to the microphone, testing it then beginning to sing the start of "All You Need Is Love." The group on the stairs hears, the cops asking what the hell that is, and Prudence says "That's Jude!!" and they head back up the stairs.
Lucy hears, and starts to turn as she walks down the sidewalk, and begins walking back. The cops try to get Jude to stop, but Sadie and Prudence sing "love, love, love" at them and manage to get them to let Jude sing, and the band comes in to accompany him, Sadie and Jo-Jo also singing. Lucy tries to get into the building, but the line of cops tell her that the roof is closed off, and she may not get in. She turns around and heads the other way.
Jude stops singing most of the way through the song, and Sadie and Jo-Jo take over as he turns away from the microphone, looking disappointed, and Max is seen looking off the way Jude WAS facing, and points, and when Jude turns and looks startled and full of emotion, we see that Lucy has gone to the other building across the street and climbed to ITS roof, and is standing there, looking at Jude. "All You Need Is Love" still plays, with a background strain of "She Loves You, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah" coming in as the two share soulful, loving looks... and the screen freezes on Lucy and fades to psychadelic-colored credits with more songs playing.
You can send in your spoiler to other movies by going here.
Send your questions or comments about this or any other spoiler to: THEMOVIESPOILER.com