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My Blueberry Nights (2007)

My Blueberry Nights. Feature film. (2007, 93 mins) IMDB

...sometimes singers break through as actors, sometimes...

I

t's a road movie. It's a love story for several characters. It's about life.

Jude Law runs a café in NYC. There's coffee and cakes and pork chops. There's also Norah Jones harassing him in her search for some man who may or may not have been at the café. He's rather obliging with his time with her perhaps because he's got a hard on for her.

The opening third of the movie deals with these two characters in his café. She's searching for someone and he's obliging until she gives up on the search and the relationship goes to another level. It's where we learn it's NIGHTS because she has trouble sleeping and BLUEBERRY because at the end of the day, blueberry pie is about all that is left in the café. In fact it's a metaphor on life. People buy the cheese cake and chocolate cake but not the blueberry pie. He serves her a piece of blueberry pie with ice cream.

From there, for reasons I'm not certain about, she leaves NYC and ends up in Memphis where she works a dinner during the day and a bar during the evening. She doesn't get much sleep because she can't although it's never explained why. I can guess, but the love answer doesn't mean sleepless nights. At least not in my experience.

During her stay in Memphis, she befriends a cop who during the day is sober and respectable but during the evening he is drunk and belligerent. He's screwed up because he wife left him for another man--a man he beats the shit out of. There's never anything sexual between our drunk cop and insomniac waitress, it's strictly a friendly understanding where she does more of the understanding. When the cop realizes he's never getting his wife back, he smashes up his car and dies in the process. Onto the next location.

She's moving west and works in a casino where she meets Natalie Portman who plays a poker player with one of those southern accents and southern attitudes. She's cocky and loud and manages to lose in this one game. She befriends our hero to stake her to another game. She loses again. Maybe. Somehow this leads to a long road trip to Las Vegas where Portman will see her dying father. I thought they were in Las Vegas!

Portman's performance is subtle and entirely believable. It made me wonder why she played the stiff character in Star Wars.

The relationship between the two women revolves around getting money and paying it back, but ever the con, she never lost the money in the last hand and well conned Jones into coming along so she wouldn't have to face her dying father.

With this episode of the story over, Jones returns to NYC and the café and Jude Law where they seem to be a couple.

There are far too many US iconic images in this film for my liking. Jones is obsessed with buying a car. Why do they have this obsession with buying a car?

How can such a small film cost $10 million to produce? I don't get that. Was nine point five million above the line?

Why have a non-actor in the key role of the film? Did the actors involved wonder the same thing until they saw the pay stub and thought about other things?

Jones isn't an actor and it showed in this film. She had no range. None. The four professional actors she played against were just that--professional. Imagine these four as NHL players and Jones who isn't. They could skate up and down the ice with grace and ease and handle the puck while Jones fell forward and backwards and was never sure what a puck looked like.

Posted 2009/05/20 at 19h14ET in Movie Commentary.

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