Nina (Giulia Be) believes in the concept of soulmates. She thinks every person has that perfect partner waiting for them out there. The problem is that the earth is too big and densely populated. Not everyone has the time to scour their surroundings - let alone a whole planet - for the perfect match. And time is something Nina doesn't have. She has lupus and needs a kidney transplant. Her organs are failing because of this autoimmune disease. The waiting list for a transplant is as high as 14000 or something like that. When your routine basically involves you getting up and arriving for dialysis, how can you afford to look for a soulmate? On top of that, Nina wants to be a pianist at Symphony Orchestra. She has to practice if she wants to make it to the list.
Thankfully, she does not have to do a lot of searching to find her soulmate. She bumps into him while playing piano at a railway station. "What's the piano doing there?" is a logical question one must not ask while watching Beyond the Universe. Anyway, her inamorato is Gabriel (Henry Zaga). He is a doctor, though, given the way he recklessly drives his cycle, you expect him to end up in an ICU sooner or later. Would you believe Gabriel works in the same hospital that is frequented by Nina? Of course, he does. Complexity is something that is beyond this film's mind. It wants to be easy on the eyes and pass as smoothly as possible.
This means the thorny edges in Beyond the Universe are smoothened. It doesn't linger on scenes that are charged with dramatic intensity. As Nina has to attend her dialysis sessions, she is unable to reach her classes on time. As a result, she is fired from her job. The movie does not let us absorb this upsetting moment and instead moves ahead with its frothy spirit. I am sure living with lupus must be painful, but Beyond the Universe does not treat it with grave concern. You never actually feel that Nina is going through a distressing situation.
One reason might be that the movie is focused more on being cutesy and fun. It spends an incredible amount of energy making Nina and Gabriel a sweet couple but seems reluctant to dive into the serious aspects. This is the type of film where there are no strict security guards, and the people don't cuss at you if you break traffic rules. The colors pop out, and director Diego Freitas uses lens flares for glossy purposes. He also wants to imbue a sense of fantasy into his material because he sees the love story with a cosmic lens. The movie can sometimes get too literal with its intentions (Nina and Gabriel float in space and kiss one another). But otherwise, one can find cosmic traces if you dig a little deeper.
Gabriel is a doctor, and Nina is a patient. One is concerned with life, while another is close to death. This union of "life" and "death" exudes otherworldly or celestial, or cosmic (take your pick) vibes. It rains when they make love to each other on the terrace as if the angels are weeping with joy at their sexual experience.
It's tough to buy Gabriel as a doctor. He looks like a model walking around wearing a doctor's uniform. Perhaps, it would have helped if he had done more "doctor stuff," like doing surgery or prescribing medicines. But the movie is not curious about his professional life. The most taxing work he does here is calling the names of the patients. Either the film wants to be more about Nina, or it's afraid that if we see him working, we will notice that he is not good at his job. Speaking of Nina, she is believable as a musician. That's not surprising when you discover that the actress is also a professional singer and songwriter.
Beyond the Universe is a cheesy film. It's also very manipulative (just observe the scene where Gabriel goes trekking). It's weightless and further punctures the emotional intensity of a death scene by playing a song of a poor choice. Yet, Beyond the Universe stays afloat due to the chemistry between the lead actors. There were moments when something within me stirred while watching Nina and Gabriel interact with each other. Maybe their romance is indeed strong and magical.
Final Score- [6/10]
Reviewed by - Vikas Yadav
Follow @vikasonorous on Twitter
Publisher at Midgard Times
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