My Blueberry Nights chronicles a year of self-discovery for Elizabeth a young woman who, after the end of a relationship finds herself broken-hearted and lost in life.
Elizabeth (Nora Jones) finds solace in a quaint little café in her native New York City run by Jeremy (Jude Law), a traveler from Manchester who wound up staying after “life happened”. She begins to visit on a regular basis for the conversation and the blueberry pie, which much like her, through no fault of its own remains unwanted night after night. Abruptly, without so much as a goodbye, Elizabeth sets off bound for Memphis, Tennessee. She remains in contact with Jeremy by sending postcards, however never reveals her location, preventing him from tracking her down. Under the guise of variations on her name, Betty, Lizzy or Beth takes on a couple of jobs with one singular aim, to purchase a car to travel to some unknown destination. Along the way she meets a series of off-beat characters and sees herself as reflected in their eyes, each time feeling a little better about the person that she sees.
She meets Officer Arnie Copeland (David Strathairn), a cop who now spends his time off duty drinking after his wife, Sue Lynne (Rachel Weisz) left him. Then there’s Leslie (a platinum blonde Natalie Portman), a poker-playing vixen down on her luck that trusts no one just like her card-playing daddy taught her. Together with Leslie, Elizabeth winds up driving to Los Vegas before finally returning home.
Nora Jones plays the central character, Elizabeth, in an admirable acting debut, made even more remarkable by the fact that she does not like blueberry pie. Despite lacking previous acting experience, Jones was reportedly the only choice for the lead role. Jude Law manages to cement his place as my ideal man, even if his Manchester accent is a little there one minute, gone the next. Portman is again a pleasure to watch, but it is David Strathairn and Rachel Weisz that produce the film’s most memorable performances.
My Blueberry Nights was produced, co-written and directed by Kar Wai Wong. This is the Hong Kong filmmaker’s first feature-length English film and impressively it was selected to open the 60th Cannes Film Festival in 2007. The camerawork is notable, utilising slow shots that add an almost dreamlike quality to the movie and overtones of burnt orange and neon blue. The film has a sweaty, gritty and moody feel straight out of a postcard from New Orleans or a bourbon commercial from the Deep South. The soundtrack featuring Jones’ bluesy sounds contributes to the movie’s laid back, contemplative feel.
Rating: 4 out 5 slices of blueberry pie
My Blueberry Nights is now screening through Roadshow at selected theatres.
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