BY ASHLEY KOWALEWSKI
This is a very complicated movie with a very simple point. Let me try to make sense of it for you: Two inverted but very close planets that have an opposite gravitational pull manage to coexist, but in a very minimal way. In each of these planets lives Adam from below (played by Jim Sturgess–who, I might add, every time I see him I want to re-watch Across the Universe. Every. Single. Time.) and Eden from above (Kirsten Dunst). They met as children and remained friends as teenagers, living on their respective planets and communicating by reaching the highest point of each planet. Naturally, young love sprouted, though due to the laws of gravity and those of each planet, they can’t be together. An unfortunate run-in with the law leaves Adam in lesser-than-humble living situations and Eden with a bump on the head, which eventually leads to amnesia and integrates one of the most notorious obstacles in any work of fiction: Forbidden love. With me so far?
Ten years later, Adam catches a glimpse of Eden on TV and, not knowing she doesn’t remember him or anything that happened between them, sets out with a plan to meet Eden once again. (This all happens within the first half hour of the movie, FYI.) He gets a job at Transworld, which is the only building that integrates both planets and its inhabitants, trying to patent an anti-aging cream, but really has another agenda–he’s hoping to create a substance that allows each gravitational field to be switched, giving people the opportunity to travel between planets, without being upside down the whole time. Told you–so confusing.
Other than the main story line, this movie actually hit some issues of class division, which is interesting because most people don’t really categorize “class” anymore. The lower planet is clearly shown as the slums and they refer to the inhabitants as not being able to afford certain things that the upper planet would consider everyday essentials (though really, frivolities). The whole notion of it being illegal to cross between the planets (other than if you’re an employee of Transworld, though even employees are encouraged to keep inter-world chatter to a minimum) really heightens that division and is a really interesting paradox that is set against the seemingly futuristic society of both planets.
It reminded me a little of the tone in Melancholia and seems a bit like an indie flick, though I think Sturgess and Dunst will impress you in this. In spite of being a little confusing, the movie came together quite nicely and not as disjointed as you might expect based on my synopsis above. Apart from being visually spectacular, this movie was actually really sweet and poetic–don’t kill me–but even considering it’s a Canadian film. I’m a total sucker for a love story that involves a guy who, come hell or high water, will get do everything he can to get to his girl–even so much as altering the laws of gravity.