Beyond the Sea
For Bobby Darin (Kevin Spacey), performing was his life. It kept his heart beating. He came alive onstage, even when he was near collapse offstage. In “Beyond the Sea,” Bobby tells his own story. At age seven, Bobby gets rheumatic fever that damages his heart forever. The doctor tells his mother Polly (Brenda Blethyn) that he will be lucky to live to the age of fifteen. Polly and Bobby’s older sister Nina (Caroline Aaron) take care of him, along with Nina’s husband Charlie (Bob Hoskins).
Modern medicine and determination keep him alive, his heart still ticking, and by age 20, with the help of his best friend turned manager Steve Blauner (John Goodman) and musical director Dick Behrke (Peter Cincotti) he’s working his way up, from tacky clubs to performing in Vegas, finally scoring a hit with “Splish Splash.” But Bobby wants more. As he tells Life Magazine, he wants to be a legend by 25. “Mack the Knife” makes him the star he’s dreamed of becoming but for him this is only the beginning. The hits keep coming and his life keeps evolving, including an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor in “Captain Newman MD.”
Never satisfied with success, Bobby continues to reinvent himself and moves from rock and roll into pop, gospel, country and western and folk music. By the end of his brief 14-year career Bobby Darin has had more hits in more genres of music than any recording artist except Elvis Presley and Ray Charles. When he kicks off his acting career, he meets movie star Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth) while filming “Come September” in Italy. He falls for her, but has to jump through hoops to get around Mary (Greta Scacchi), Sandy’s possessive and overbearing mother. Despite her protests Bobby and Sandy get married and seem like the perfect Hollywood fairytale couple. But the conflict of her acting career and his touring puts a strain on the relationship. His dogged pursuit of fame and fortune isolates him from the very people who love him and believe in him. His master plan for Bobby Darin the star doesn’t leave much room for Bobby Darin the man.
Confused and directionless, Bobby leaves Sandy in the late 1960s and looks for new meaning in his life by becoming politically active and leaving behind the Las Vegas glitz for anti-war protest songs and hippie hairstyles. But the new Bob Darin doesn’t work for the fans. In the end, with his childhood illness finally catching up with him, he must look to his friends, family and extraordinary talent to quell his demons and return to the stage to accept who he is and what his life has meant. Bobby Darin remains one of the great entertainers of all time with a rags to riches story unknown. This film will introduce his remarkable abilities to a new generation.
Kevin Spacey did an excellent job writing, directing and acting in this film about Bobby Darin. The film is filled with wonderful music and sentiment. Darin overcomes a background of growing up without a father, being poor and having a bad heart. He shouldn’t have lived to 15 much less 37. This a wonderful story about love and going after your dreams. That said, the film is marred by excessive foul language. This could have been a wonderful family film that would have showed the younger generation a bit of musical history, but Hollywood, and Kevin Spacey specifically, chose to pepper the entire film with obscenities and profanities.