Beyond the Sea - Movie Reviews - Rotten Tomatoes

Beyond the Sea Reviews

Page 1 of 47
September 5, 2016
People love to hate biopics. When a biopic follows the all-too-familiar well-worn path, people say, "Give me a break. This old crap again?" But when the rare biopic gets wildly creative - as does "Beyond the Sea" - it risks alienating the followers of the very celebrity being portrayed. Lots of people despise "Beyond the Sea" but it works for me. In fact, I admire it more today than when it was released.

Why is this movie scorned? Perhaps it's because at the ripe age of forty-five Keven Spacey has the audacity to portray Bobby Darin at age twenty-five. Also, the fantasy scenes of a ten-year-old Darin having philosophical discussions with the adult Darin probably gives the willies to fans who are only watching the movie to catch the faithful recreations of their beloved "Splish Splash" and "Mack the Knife."

Even though "Beyond the Sea" breaks new ground for biopics, it is largely ignored. The only earlier biopic I can think of that matches its daring is "All That Jazz" (1979) in which Bob Fosse unflinchingly examines his own career, personal life, and health issues. Three films that owe a debt to "Beyond the Sea" are the guitar-player documentary "It Might Get Loud" (Jack White shares scenes with a young boy dressed in clothes identical to his but gives no explanation of who the boy is and why he's there), "I'm Not There" (many actors of varying age, race, and gender portray Bob Dylan), and "Love and Mercy" (two very different actors play Brian Wilson at various stages of his life.)

Bobby Darin crammed several lifetimes into his brief thirty-seven years. He was a rock-and-roller ("Splish Splash.) He was a jazz-swinger ("Beyond the Sea.") He was a folk singer ("If I Were a Carpenter.") He was a funk-folk-rocker ("Long Line Rider.") Kevin Spacey flawlessly re-creates all these self-reinventions of Darin. And did I say that Spacey has a great voice? If not for this acting thing, Kevin Spacey could have had a music career.
If you believe "Walk the Line," "Ray," "Get On Up," "Miles Ahead," "Born to Be Blue," "The Doors," "The Runaways," and "Lady Sings the Blues" are all the same story, join the club. That's why you must give a chance to "Beyond the Sea." It's refreshing. I defy anyone to watch this film and not have at least a fleeting fantasy of what it must be like to own a Vegas stage ... all decked out in your slicked hair and tailored tux, snappin' your fingers to the big band while your voice nails every note dead-on.

There was only one Bobby Darin. And Kevin Spacey lets us see him anew.
August 7, 2016
good musical bio-pic/period film
May 3, 2016
What a gem of a film! I chanced upon it on Amazon Prime, and since both my mom and daughter were big Bobby Darin fans, I watched. I felt like I was watching an old time musical, but also a modern story. It was just a touch surreal, and I think told Darin's story in a very true way. Sometimes a little fantasy coveys truth better tan a list of facts, and this film does that. I wish there were more folks like this. If you like love stories, if you like the American songbook, if you like old style this one. I do not understand the bad critical reviews this is a gem.
December 19, 2015
Fantastically entertaining. Awesome soundtrack. Screw the critics.
December 7, 2015
I don't know much about Bobby, but I thought the film did a great job introducing his life and legacy. The set up has a Christmas-Carol-esque atmosphere that I really enjoyed and appreciated. I say thumbs up for this one.
December 6, 2015
May as well call this The Kevin Spacey Show...he's superb, directing, co-writing, singing, dancing and acting, he puts his heart into this film. Love it, very good watch.
August 16, 2015
Who knew Kevin Spacey was so musically talented.
June 7, 2015
This has vanity project written all over it, and while that's not always a bad thing, Spacey's casting as Bobby Darin, although well acted, is completely off the mark. Unfortunately, it's too distracting to make the movie work, even though the film isn't half bad.
January 20, 2015
They say that Kevin Spacey was such an intense fan of Bobby Darin that that's why he insisted and worked so hard over so many years to make this movie. Bravo to him‚¶ As it seems like it's a story that was definitely meant to be told to the world. The problem is that Spacey's "fandom" may have made him too close to the subject, because there are too many portions of this that the non-‚" intense Darin fan would find hard to follow‚¶ Or just find slow and boring. There are too many times in this movie that the transition and interaction between Darin, the Child, and Darin, the Adult, just doesn't flow. And that's when the movie slows to a crawl ‚" and every once in a while, comes to a screeching halt. While overall, it is enjoyable, it glosses over too many things that seem to be much more important to the overall story than they are given time for‚" which ultimately makes this a little too hard to follow.
December 25, 2014
Kevin Spacey is on fire in this behind and in front of the camera. He does his own singing and dancing in this and makes this film a show stopper. He just proves my point even more on why I would love to see him host the Oscars because not many people really know this side of Spacey. Kate Bosworth is also impressive as Spacey's wife and John Goodman and Bob Hoskins are as great as ever. Caroline Aaron is also a standout. The hair design, production design, sound, writing, and costumes are all great and the musical numbers are all spectacular.
December 5, 2014
I don't care if this is a vanity project, this movie was really good. I loved it. Kevin Spacey is superb (when isn't he?) and wonderful music sung by him perfectly.
October 2, 2014
Spacey's a 10 while the movies a 4.
½ September 17, 2014
Beyond the Sea never really moves beyond a skin-deep biopic, and always feels off-beat, but Spacey saves the show. His portrayal of Darin is almost spot on, and he has a surprisingly good singing voice. It may try a bit too hard, but it is worth watching if only for the "Beyond the Sea" number.
September 1, 2014
I can't miss anything with Kevin Spacey in it, and a film directed by and starring him is not one that I can miss, so Beyond the Sea was a sure fire viewing for me.

Bobby Darin is not a man that I'm familiar with, so I can't know for sure precisely how valid the story told in Beyond the Sea is. It is clear that Kevin Spacey has chosen to take many creative liberties with the story so that it can be more interesting and fit into an interesting style of filmmaking. Beyond the Sea was an enjoyable experience for me because there was a lot of energy in its story. While Bobby Darin had an interesting life, it didn't seem like in the story he had too much that made him more exciting than many other musicians that have had biopics. Kevin Spacey is able to transcend that by injecting a certain style into the film which made it stand out from traditional biopics in the way that it refuses to adhere to the standard plot structure that so many other films do. While the story in Beyond the Sea doesn't always answer every question about Bobby Darin and a lot of its dramatic plot dynamics are rather misplaced and seem to have been randomly thrown in there at times which detract from the general mood of the film into a melodramatic state, the fact is that I found Beyond the Sea did a good enough job illuminating the life of Bobby Darin.
Like most biopics, Beyond the Sea was not a perfect one and it left a lot of points in Bobby Darin's life absent. It skipped through a lot to emphasize his career while famous which left out many aspects of what built him as a person. The energy in the film managed to suck me in enough ot distract me from this, but it means that Beyond the Sea only comes off as a bit of a half-valid biopic. Beyond the Sea does illuminate the life of Bobby Darin, but it does not tell the full story. A lot of what Bobby Darin goes through is rather cliche, although I can't criticize him for living a lifestyle which many others have. And you can tell that Kevin Spacey makes an effort to get around the cliche elements of the film by constantly moving through them at a quick pace and using a strong visual style to do it, so his direction is ambitious. In the end, Beyond the Sea is mostly able to overcome a lot of its narrative faults with style and energy, but there is no denying that the storytelling in Beyond the Sea is faulty and one of its most predominant downfalls. For me, I got sucked into the charm of the energetic atmosphere in Beyond the Sea so easily that its story faults did not damage the film enough for me to call it a bad experience, but as the film is a biopic of a very popular musician, its narrative flaws would make it unsatisfying to the best of Bobby Darin's fans.
Still, like I said, the style of the film is excellent. As well as capturing the timeframe of Bobby Darin's life with eye to production design and costume, Beyond the Sea has a lot of strong cinematography which captures the scenery and the design of everything very nicely. But more importantly, the magic in the film comes from the quality of its musical sequences. With a talented cast of singers lined up and some strong composers used to establish the musical numbers, Beyond the Sea ends up being a stylish affair with a lot of passionate energy in its atmosphere, and so the general spirit of Bobby Darin's musical magic is easy to feel if the viewer can overlook the many narrative faults.
Kevin Spacey helms the role of writer, director and producer of Beyond the Sea, but none of his talents match up to what he presents to the lead role of Bobby Darin as the star of the show.
Kevin Spacey shines in the leading role in Beyond the Sea. Despite the fact that Kevin Spacey was quite older than Bobby Darin while portraying him, it never really bothered me because I found that Kevin Spacey was so easily charismatic in the part and that he looked it convincingly enough for it to. Kevin Spacey is a brilliant actor, and in Beyond the Sea he directs himself to a winning performance because he puts a lot of energetic spirit into Bobby Darin. And while the film does not perfectly capture the edge of his life and tell the entire story due to a script which has a lot of holes in its narrative, Kevin Spacey does what he can with the part and manages to turn in an incredible and very spirited performance. Kevin Spacey's performance in Beyond the Sea is great for a number of reasons, with one of them being that he used his own singing voice excellently with articulation that was so beautifully detailed that it filled the air with spirit, and when it came to the acting, it is no surprise just how excellent Kevin Spacey is. Kevin Spacey is perfectly suave in the role of Bobby Darin and speaks his words with a level of sophistication and confidence which remains consistent throughout the 118 minute running time of the film. Kevin Spacey is perfectly dramatic in Beyond the Sea and has a lot of energetic charisma which ties into the atmosphere well, and his acting abilities combined with his singing voice make Bobby Darin one of the roles that he was born to have played.
Beyond the Sea doesn't do the most excellent job of conveying the role that Sandra Dee played in Bobby Darin's life as she is present for a while and gone in the blink of an eye, but Kate Bosworth does a decent job in the role. Her chemistry with Kevin Spacey is great because there is a real feel of romantic tension between them, and she does look the part well enough. It isn't the best, partly because Sandra Dee is played off as a subplot in the life of Bobby Darin, but she does a decent job in the part and does manage to pour a good amount of dramatic charisma into the role.
Bob Hoskins is a strong supporting figure in Beyond the Sea, and his friendly chemistry with Kevin Spacey renders him a genial presence. John Goodman also does a nice job, as does Brenda Blethyn who lays down a spirit along the lines of Susan Sarandon in her part.

So despite not being the most accurate biopic due to a lot of narrative faults, Kevin Spacey's electric passion for stylish direction and exceptional lead performance makes Beyond the Sea an all new look at his filmmaking talents as well as a somewhat entertaining portrayal in the life of Bobby Darin.
July 14, 2014
I loved this film way more than I should've, Kevin Spaceys portrayal as Bobby Darin is Pitch perfect. This is a performance that just made me so invested in the film, making it funny, touching and his musical numbers sound identical to Darin's songs. I adored it.
July 13, 2014
This is one of the movies that stayed in my heart out amongst the many movies I saw in my pre-teen years. It's just as magical now as it was then. I'd say I'd love to see a stage version, but only Spacey can pull it off quite like this.
June 18, 2014
Good acting but was too focused on the depressing aspects of his life.
May 22, 2014
I don't know what everyone's complaining about. this was a fantastic movie! Spacey outdid himself, and made me love Bobby Darin even more. the script, the cast, the performances, the musical numbers -- loved everything about it. =)
November 2, 2013
October 4, 2013
This is one of those movies that you need to see to see what the movie and music industry was like when Bobby Darrin was big, and you get to learn a lot about him through the movie. I love the music in it, and love that you can see how respectful he was to Sandra Dee when they got married and started to share the bed in the house.
Page 1 of 47