Beyond the Sea

Beyond the Sea

The chameleon-like actor Kevin Spacey is best known for playing pyschopaths (in Seven and The Usual Suspects) and capturing a creepy mid-life crisis in American Beauty--but surprisingly, playing crooner Bobby Darin, Spacey does some snappy dancing and top-notch singing. Beyond the Sea puts Darin's life through a bit of a kaleidoscope: While singing Darin's most memorable hit, "Mack the Knife," Darin suddenly stops the show, revealing that he's not at a nightclub, but in the middle of a shooting a scene about his life as a nightclub performer. Why has he stopped? Because he's just seen himself as a young boy, peering from behind a curtain. Such self-conscious narrative twists recur throughout the movie, turning Darin's fight for fame and respect into a love story between his adult and childhood selves. Sandra Dee (Kate Bosworth, Win a Date with Tad Hamilton!), a hugely popular movie star in her own right, was supposedly the love of Darin's life, but she never holds his attention as does his childhood self (played by newcomer William Ullrich). It's a striking metaphor for the narcissism that drives such success-hungry entertainers. But despite (or perhaps because of) the complexity of the telling, the events never grip your emotions; though Darin's life featured hits galore and a few soap opera twists, his story lacks the seductive charm of his nighclub show. Also featuring Bob Hoskins, John Goodman, Brenda Blethyn, and Greta Scacchi. --Bret Fetzer

Director(s): Kevin Spacey
Production: Lions Gate Films
  Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 5 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
PG-13 (Parental Guidance Suggested)
In the era of cool, he was the soundtrack.
The voice. The passion. The confidence.

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
I heard you were going into politics. You still thinkin' about doing that?

Bobby Darin:
Well, I'm considering it. I mean, they've asked me.

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
Well, you know how the papers try and smear people with things from their past when, you know, they're gonna run for an office?

Bobby Darin:
Mm-hm. Yeah. So what?

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
There's something about your past that I think it's finally time for you to know.

Bobby Darin:
What are you talking about?

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
It's about Polly. She wasn't who you thought she was, Bobby.

Bobby Darin:
She was the best mother in the whole goddamn world. What are you talking about?

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
She was a great mother because she was my mother, so I know it's true.

Bobby Darin:
Than you take that back!

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
No, she was a wonderful person and a wonderful mother. But what I think you really need now is the truth. The truth about your mother. And the truth is... Polly was not your mother. Sam was not your father. You ain't my brother, Bobby. [pause] We swore that we would never let you find out. Polly was my mother. Not yours. [pause] She was your grandmother. Sweetheart... [tearfully] I'm not your sister. [pause] Bobby, I'm your mother.

Polly Cassotto:
We made a pact that we would never tell you.

Little Bobby:
Is she kidding?

Polly Cassotto:
She got pregnant when she was 17.

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
[tearfully] It's true, Bobby. I didn't want you to be a bastard, so I gave you to momma, so that way no one could call you one.

Polly Cassotto:
She couldn't give you up for adoption.

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
When I went off to the hospital, when it was time for you to be born. Momma moved us to the Bronx where we didn't know nobody. And then when I came back, we said you were her baby, not mine. But that way I could keep you.

Little Bobby:
Do you realise what you're saying to me?

Polly Cassotto:
We did it to protect you, Bobby.

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
You need me now. I can really be here for you. You're lost. You can finally have the mother that you never really had.


Little Bobby:
Who was my father?

Nina Cassotto Maffia:
Oh, Bobby. I was dating a lot of guys back then.

Little Bobby:
[angrily] Who was my father!

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