My Blueberry Nights (2008)

Dir. Wong kar-Wai
Starring: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, etc.

I recommend this to Mitchell, Penny, Grace, Jill, Chris and Tony. Kevin would probably like this. Marc might have a chance, too, although I would guess his reaction would be lukewarm. Larri enjoyed this film, giving it a 7. FWIW, there are things that appealed to me in this film that may not appeal to others. I like Wong as a director, and I really enjoyed this.

This is Wong kar-Wai’s first American film, and in a way, it’s a good film to start with–possibly being one of his more accessible films. Elizabeth (Jones) is having guy problems and turns to Jeremy (Law), a cafe owner in NYC. To change her life, Elizabeth leaves New York and works as a waitress in Memphis and then Las Vegas. This is a good looking film with some good performances and nice literary touches. This is a romantic film with an independent, but accessible, aesthetic.

I was really got into this film. First, I loved the visual aspect of the film–the use of color (blueberry?), lighting and camera work (even the font on the title screens), creating his typical romantic-sad atmosphere. There is one scene in particular that I really liked, the one where Law is speaking with an old girlfriend outside his shop. The camera shot through the front picture window, while the exhaled smoke from a cigarette is lit up.

The other thing I liked about the film was the way diners and late night bars seemed to be prominent characters in the film. He makes these places feel sad, but cozy and warm, too. This is one of those things that others make not like as much as I did.

I should also mention something about the casting and the acting. I loved the Law-Jones and Jones-Portman combination. Jones said that she and Portman really formed a bond and that in some of the driving scenes, they both felt like driving off together. The chemistry is evident in the film, and I would love to see Wong direct them as the same characters in another film. Wong’s producer wasn’t sure about casting Portman in the role she played–a terrific poker player with a Southern accent–and I’d feel the same way. But Wong said he had a good feeling went with it. Well, his instincts were right. Portman was an odd choice for the role, but it totally worked. (She also seemed to be channeling Matthew McConaughey.)

Having said that, I think David Stathairn and Rachel Weisz weren’t good picks, and Weisz’s acting, in particular, didn’t seem very good. She wasn’t a convincing Southerner (although to be fair to her she was pregnant at the time and tried to fit the film in her schedule).

Finally, I really loved some of the metaphors used in the film: the blueberry pie (something no one seems to want and the way the color fit the mood of much of the film) and the jar of keys. I predict Mitchell will really like this aspect of the film.

My Blueberry Nights
Saw this with Reid and Jill. Norah Jones hits a good note and mostly sticks with it. The other actors do a good job with the material they’re given. The film is beautifully lighted, with lots of bright (yet muted) colors. I like the first two acts very much and the third not much at all. I think the writers unnecessarily (Kar Wai Wong and Lawrence Block) go too far with the dialogue, explaining their own metaphors where no explanation is needed, or making their characters say things we don’t have to hear. Still, a nice movie and I recommend it. 7/10

RE: My Blueberry Nights

Except for the one instance you cited where the writers explain too much, were there many others?

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