Release Year: 2005
Director: Cameron Crowe
Writer: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Susan Sarandon, Bruce McGill, Alec Baldwin, Paul Schneider
As recently fired Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is about to commit suicide, a call from his sister informs him that their father has passed away while visiting relatives in hiss native Kentucky. On his way there he meets the too-good-to-be-true Claire, and an unexpected romance ensues.
Cameron Crowe (We Bought a Zoo, 2011) has a knack for making sweet with a taste of bitterness and has a dedicated audience. But Crowe is not for everyone and some of his films tends to be a bit too unnoticeable. Elizabethtown is one such film, it has wonderful and tender moments, but seems to lack a clear sense of where its going and what it wants to say. It’s both a film about the business world, the true values of life, the importance of family and heritage, father son relationships, the line between friendship and romantic love, among other things. On top of that it’s part light burial preparation comedy, part road trip movie. Despite a slow and gentle pace and a simple story there is still, somehow, too much going on. That being said, it has its bright moments. Especially the part of the film in which Drew gets reacquainted with his father’s family and thereby his late father is very good, and cousin Jessie (Paul Schneider) is one of those wonderful small characters that stick out (by the way, he too has issues with his father, something taken up a couple of times and then left hanging in the air). However, the film does mostly centre of the Drew and Claire. Dunst (Wimbledon, 2004) is at her most charming and Bloom (Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl, 2003) is good although his American accent is somewhat strained; the two of them make for a surprisingly appealing screen couple. The soundtrack is lovely and the whole film overall is an excellent tourist commercial for Kentucky. Had it only been more focused it could have made a great film. Recommended, but mostly to Cameron Crowe fans.
The members of cousin Jesse’s band comprises members of the native Kentucky band My Morning Jacket who are also featured on the soundtrack.
Picture Copyright: Paramount