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Beyond the Sea (2004)

Beyond the Sea poster.jpg

I was never more jealous of my aunt than when she told me that the man born as Walden Robert Cassotto serenaded her at her Sweet Sixteenth celebration in the Copacabana back in the day. The man who became known as teen idol and hit songwriter and singer Bobby Darin deserved a fantastic biopic and he got one. Unlike the man himself, this has a huge, vibrating heart and Kevin Spacey is truly good in the role of the ultimate showman. The project had a decades-long, difficult birth and only came together when Spacey got his mitts on it with the agreement of Dodd Darin, the singer’s son, and he not only directs and stars but sings the songs himself – very well. The background to his obscured origins in NYC is traced well, but the prime focus is on his career as a multi-talented club singer, songwriter, musician and husband to Hollywood teen star Sandra Dee (whose own horrifying family situation is more or less overlooked) whom he met on the set of a film. Their marriage was filled with drama. He even got an Oscar nomination – the script is full of witty put-downs about each other’s roles and appearance, such as when he says to her, Kissing Troy Donahue is not acting. She replies, Well, then, you should try it. Yes there are errors and omissions and things are telescoped for dramatic effect, but this has a heart as big as the sun and Spacey’s passion is there in every frame. I think Darin would have appreciated it.

About elainelennon

An occasional movie-watching diary.

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