My Blueberry Nights Movie Review
From the writer and director of In the Mood for Love and 2046 comes an American-based romantic drama about intersecting lives and relationships. An ensemble piece starring Jude Law, Rachel Weisz, David Strathairn, Natalie Portman and, in her acting debut, Norah Jones, My Blueberry Nights is well-done but unremarkable.
The movie begins with a love scorned Norah Jones making her way into a corner cafe, where she meets the owner, played by Law. The two strike up a friendship and perhaps more over some late night blueberry pie, but her attentions are still focused elsewhere. From there, the movie shifts focus to one of Jones' customers - she's a waitress by day and bartender by night - who's both a cop and a drunk. The man (Strathairn) is separated from the wife he loves (Weisz) and wants nothing more to get her back. And then the movie shifts gears again.
The closest thing to a central character is Jones, though the movie itself is much less focused. Thankfully, Jones, who I consider to be a one-hit wonder in the music industry, holds her own and actually appears to have some talent. She's pretty and establishes a sound and likable character, which is pretty amazing since she's acting alongside some of the best in the industry. Law, Strathairn, Weisz and Portman are all actors I consider to be in the upper echelon, yet Jones seems unintimidated. On the flip side, neither Weisz or Portman get very good parts, as their characters come off as either cold or annoying, but, more importantly, uninteresting. Law doesn't get a lot to do, but he still has a pretty solid character; Strathairn is the only one who really gets some substance (as a suicidal drunk of a police officer).
Beyond the acting, My Blueberry Nights is mildly mesmerizing. It feels like a dream that moves from one story to the next, and in that way it's similar to other work that director Kar Wai Wong has done. But Nights lacks the visual intrigue and character development that Wong is known for. While pretty to look at and understated in many ways, there is nothing particularly memorable about the picture. The film lacks a story arc and as such, much purpose.
By itself, My Blueberry Nights is not a bad film, but in relation to Wong's other movies, it pales in comparison.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.