DVD Review: ‘My Blueberry Nights’

My Blueberry Nights is a light and airy movie, sweetened by some heartfelt (if somewhat misguided) performances.  And while there are parts of the film that are a little bland and others that feel underdone, it goes down fairly smoothly with no bad aftertaste.

LOVE this DVD cover.

LOVE this DVD cover.

What’s it about?  Elizabeth (Norah Jones) enters Jeremy’s (Jude Law) New York City diner on the culinary trail of her boyfriend.  When she discovers her boyfriend has dined there with another woman, Elizabeth leaves his keys there, hoping that one day he’ll come back to the diner and claim them.  She keeps coming back, and instead of seeing her now ex, she develops a close friendship with Jeremy.

For reasons not entirely clear, Elizabeth ups and leaves, heading to Memphis, Tennessee, waitressing by day and tending bar by night.  At the bar she encounters Arnie (David Strathairn), an alcoholic incapable of letting his estranged wife, Sue Lynne (Rachel Weisz) move on with her life.  Elizabeth then heads to Nevada (just as inexplicable as her exodus from New York) and befriends Leslie (Natalie Portman, who looks twenty years older), a gambler with a patch of bad luck.

What’s good about it?  As mentioned before a nice performance from Jones is the highlight of this film.  The only other real standout from the cast is Strathairn–you see the ache and rage in Arnie’s eyes when he sees his wife in the arms of another man.  Some beautiful cinematography and a great soundtrack featuring Jones, Otis Redding, Cassandra Wilson, Ruth Brown and Cat Power (among others). My Blueberry Nights is like a dessert from Denny’s: it’s sweet, it tastes okay, but it’s not something you’ll tell all your friends they HAVE to try.

What’s bad about it? This is one of those films that you’re supposed to like because of the pedigree behind it.  The only problem is that it doesn’t live up to its reputation.  Weisz’s performance is particularly jarring–it feels as if she took the role simply to try out her Southern accent.  She’s a good actress, but in this film she seems out of place.

Perfect for: Anyone who’s a fan of the cast.

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