“ Drama: Romance / Theatrical Release: 2007 / Suitable for 12 years and over / Director: Wong Kar-Wai / Actors: Norah Jones, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz, Jude Law, David Strathairn ... / DVD released 2008-06-23 at Optimum Home Entertainment / Features of the DVD: PAL „
* Prices may differ from that shown
note: also appears on The Student Room and Flixster in part
Chinese director Wong Kar-Wai is known for his visually stunning dramas, chiefly the astounding Chungking Express, which gave him the crossover into Western audiences that he desperately needed, and which allowed him to make something as cosmopolitan as My Blueberry Nights, a melting pot of Western and Eastern sensibilities that's visually stunning, and whilst not always focused, still another victory for the auteur.
Brit Jeremy (Jude Law) has moved to New York City, where, when working at a bar, he meets Elizabeth (Norah Jones, in a rather odd bit of casting), and the two hit it off rather nicely. From here the film sends our two characters off in different directions in a "lives interconnect with other lives" type drama that we've seen a dozen other times before. In this regard, Kar-Wai does little to really help the audience make sense of procedings, and he darts through time and space quite frequently without much reason, but like his success Chungking Express, it's meant more as an expressive collage of human experiences than a straightforward narrative.
Cast and performances throughout are what makes the film worth a watch - Jude Law is a delight looking considerably more tawdry than he usually does, and Rachel Weisz is utterly radiant throughout, whilst Natalie Portman clearly has fun playing a gambling-addicted woman from the South. It's not going to grab huge audiences, but it is a unique visual experiences with some interesting characters, even if the director isn't particularly interested in telling a story that's focused.
My Blueberry Nights is a road movie concerned with doing little for its audience, yet it survives on the strength of performances from Weisz, Portman and Strathairn. The visual style is irritating and jarring rather than impressive in any event.
*** Cast and Crew ***
Director: Wong Kar Wai
Writer: Wong Kar Wai, Lawrence Block
Jude Law as Jeremy
Norah Jones as Elizabeth
David Strathairn as Officer Arnie Copeland
Rachel Weisz as Sue Lynne Copeland
Natalie Portman as Leslie
*** Plot ***
Elizabeth was dumped by her boyfriend. It's very hard for her to cure her broken-heart feeling. She always shares her sadness with Jeremy in a café (Café Klyuch) which is belonged to Jeremy. Jeremy also faces the same problem. He is waiting for a Russian girlfriend to be back to him.
Jeremy chooses to stay at his own place and wait. Elizabeth prefers to move from one city to another city to cure her sadness. During the day, she works at a diner downtown. She also takes a waitress job at a bar at night. She uses all her energy for earning money, to buy a car, and forget her past.
On her journey, she learned about life, trust, love and make decisions that will change her whole life.
*** My Opinion ***
The first time I saw this movie at cinema because the name of Wong Kar Wai. And I am happy to watch it again in DVD. He is my super-duper favorite director. His films are captured very well in my mind: Happy Together, 2046, In the Mood for Love, Ashes of Time, Chung King Express, Days of Being Wild, As Tears Go By. I recognized his name since As Tears go By which was produced in 1988. He has his own brilliant style in writing and directing film. I begin to collect his DVDs since the production of "Happy Together (Buenos Aires Affair)" which casts my dearest Leslie Cheung together with Tony Leung. As I know, this is his first feature film in English language. And he proves that he can create a good film, although not in Chinese language and culture. This reminds me of several Hongkong's / Taiwan's directors that move to Hollywood but create lousy movies. Most of Wang Kar Wai's films are not so commercial; they look like more for festival purposes. And just for information, this film was selected as the opening film for Cannes Film Festival in 2007.
This film is setting and focusing in one-year-lifetime of Elizabeth (Norah Jones). This is also a film debut for Norah Jones. And to let you know, she is amazing. She acts great and natural. On the beginning of the film, she can express herself very well as an angry and frustrated girl. On the middle of the film, she turns become innocent, tough, and kind-hearted girl. And at the end of the film, she really can win the battle in her life.
"Dear Jeremy. In the last few days, I've been learning how to not trust people and I'm glad I failed. Sometimes we depend on other people as a mirror; to define us and tell us who we are. And each reflection makes me like myself a little more."
Jude Law makes this film becomes so romantic. He is an expert. He is very cute and handsome (by the way, the make up team has created a great job on his hair style). He has magnificent eyes. His eyes deliver a love story while he is staring at Norah Jones. And on the top of that, they create the chemistry.
Jeremy: ".... But there's always a whole blueberry pie left untouched."
Elizabeth: "So what's wrong with the blueberry pie?"
Jeremy: "There's nothing's wrong with the blueberry pie. It's just people make other choices. You can't blame the blueberry pie. It's just no one wants it."
David Strathairn (as Officer Arnie) is a husband who love-to-die to his wife, Rachel Weisz (as Sue Lynne). The acting of David Strathairn is average, but I love the acting of Rachel Weisz. Although Rachel Weisz appears only in several scenes, but her appearances are memorable. She plays as a wife that doesn't love her husband. She has tried, but she fails. But he was still crazy about her. She used to daydream about him dying. She thought it was the only way she'd get clear of him. She didn't hate him, she just want him to let go her. And now that he has, it hurts her more than anything else in the whole world. Hence the tagline, how do you say goodbye to someone you can't imagine living without?
Natalie Portman (as Leslie) is a woman who tries to abandon her father. She acts very well. The costume team has created her become so special character in the film. She makes me laugh. She also makes me cry. I love her - a lot.
With the style of narrative and number-of-day-counting, the film has an effective story telling. The runtime is just about 93 minutes.
The film is full of beautiful songs. What a great soundtrack. The music score is also good which create a dramatic and romantic moments - at the right time and at the right scene.
The story-line is magnificent. All the casts are protagonist - and no antagonist character at all. This is a romantic film, yet not a sentimental one. The love story of Jeremy and Elizabeth is not coming from 'love at the first sight', or any common love story in the movie. They love each other because they belong to each other. Without mention any word of 'love' itself, the feeling of love is very strong between them. They separate for a long distance and need almost a year to realize that they belong to each other.
Two thumbs up for the casting team. I have tried my best to think the possible substitute actor / actress for Jeremy, Elizabeth and Leslie. And I can't give any name.
The film really gets its great and unique style from the cameraman, lighting and editing team. The inside-café scenes are always taken from outside of the café - through its glass window. The glass window has colorful words / letters. And vice versa, the outside-café scenes are always taken from inside of the café. So, most of the time, we will not see the face of the cast very clear since it is covered by the glass windows with its colorful texts. I am not good to describe it, but it is very stylish for me. And since most of the location is shooting in indoor, the lighting team also gives a contribution. They create a good job - although sometimes I think that they have put too many colorful neon-lights in a café - but I like them. I like the scene of flashing-beautiful-color of a running train and beautiful color of the sky in the night (combination of yellow sky and blue clouds). All the frames are captured like artistic advertisement - fancy and colorful. It is a great work of photography.
*** DVD Special Features ***
- Deleted Scenes
- Behind the scenes
- Commentary by Natalie Portman
*** Rating ***
IMDB User Rating: 6.9 / 10
My rating: 8 /10
*** Awards ***