DVD Review: My Blueberry Nights

Weinstein Company/ Genius products
Release date: July 1st, 2008.
SRP: $19.98

Director: Wong Kar-Wai
Stars: Jude Law, Nora Jones, David Strathairn, Rachael Weisz, Natalie Portman

My Blueberry Nights is the combination of one of China’s top directors and one of the United States top mystery writers. Is this a crime film? No, it is a look at the human heart and the pain it often endures.

Elizabeth (Nora Jones) is coming out of a bad relationship. She meets Jeremy (Jude Law) who runs a café. Late night conversations with Jeremy help soothe her wounded heart, but she still has not gotten over her ex.

Rather abruptly, Lizzie decides she needs to get out of town and learn about life. And that is the story that MBN tells: Elizabeth’s journey, the people she meets and how they impact her, and where her heart ultimately takes her.
Throughout her travels, Lizzie sends Jeremy postcards, chronicling her experiences. It becomes very clear that Lizzie has put a fire in Jeremy’s previously cold heart.

We witness her experiences in both Memphis and Las Vegas.

Memphis: Lizzie takes a couple of jobs waitressing, a day job at a diner and a night job in a bar. At the bar, she meets Arnie (David Strathairn), a sad drunk that sits quietly numbing his pain with alcohol. Lizzie runs into Arnie at diner as well, and sees the other side of him: a pleasant, straight-laced cop.
We soon see that the source of Arnie’s pain is his wife Sue. They are separated and she is not only seeing other men, but also flaunting it in front of him. While it seems like this must be out of hate, we learn it is her attempt to get Arnie to stop loving her.

Vegas introduces us to Leslie (Natalie Portman) a sly card-player that trusts nobody. Lizzie and Leslie make a business arrangement that sends them on a journey to see Leslie’s dying father. During this time, Leslie attempts to teach Lizzie to be wary of others and only trust yourself and your own abilities.

These experiences help Lizzie to move past her own pain and make her own heart whole again.
When looking at My Blueberry Nights, it is easy to look at it for the film it should have been. With a cast rich in talent, an acclaimed director and an award-winning writer, this may very well have been a tour de force. Sadly, it is not that.

But it is an enjoyable film, beautifully shot, in some touching scenes. Weiss and Portman all do fine jobs, and Strathairn is excellent, but that should be no surprise given the quality of the characters they were given, as well as the level of talent possessed by them.

Surprisingly, Jones does a solid job here. While it is true that she is not required to do much heavy lifting, she holds her own, which is more than I expected.
Thus far, many of the films reviews have been, at best, lukewarm. It is a shame, because this is a pleasant little film. Nothing memorable, but I certainly found it worth the couple of hours I devoted to it.

Jeremy Lynch
For more reviews from myself, and the rest of the Crimespree crew, check out the index of reviews.