Welcome to Eureka Street

back to site


Young Bobby Darin meets mature Bobby Darin

  • 24 July 2006

Beyond the Sea: 118 minutes, Rating: M Director: Kevin Spacey, Starring: Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, John Goodman. I am always skeptical about American biopics. The studios seem to churn them out so often, that we hardly have time to enjoy Ray before we are watching country star Johnny Cash in Walk the Line. This time, Kevin Spacey brings us his creative version of '50s crooner Bobby Darin’s short life. This is a pet project of Spacey, who is also known for Superman Returns, The Usual Suspects, and American Beauty. He writes, produces and directs this very funny and touching film about Darin’s short yet fulfilling career. Spacey is excellent as Darin, allowing us not only to feel Darin’s pains and happiness, but also to understand his ambitions and reactions. Spacey proudly leads us through scenes of Darin’s life, both true and fictional. The film is studded with old style musical scenes of euphoric dancing and Broadway style arrangements. The supporting cast is as passionate and involved as Spacey. Bosworth (Superman Returns, Wonderland) is a stand out as Darin’s wife, the all American girl Sandra Dee. Her role seems a small one to begin with, but she brings great depth and range to an actress who only ever played Gidget. A standout moment occurs when Darin and Sandra Dee return home from their wedding, and Dee is scared to continue further. Thoughts of coitus, ‘ever–after’, marriage and family splish-splash through her head, and she cries and screams and begs Darin to end the whole affair. We all look forward to something new, yet the realisation of this beginning is often scary, and Bosworth holds our attention brilliantly. Darin also spends parts of the film in discussion with the child actor who is/will be portraying young Darin in the film which Darin is making about his life. Sounds complicated, but it does work. More than a novelty, it allows Darin many personalities and beliefs at the same time. Spacey has no need to use normal screen tricks to indicate time or emotion. He achieves this by having young Darin and older Darin interacting throughout the film. The true virtue of this film is the faith the actors and producers have in Spacey’s vision of Darin’s life. This film does feel like one of the old musical comedies of the days of Elvis, Sinatra and Martin. The self-reflective nature of the work is a