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Overall Rating
2.73

Awesome: 19.09%
Worth A Look: 24.55%
Just Average: 6.36%
Pretty Crappy: 10%
Sucks40%

9 reviews, 56 user ratings



Elizabethtown
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by brianorndorf

"Another beauty from Cameron Crowe"
5 stars

I can see why some would reject Cameron Crowe’s “Elizabethtown” outright as syrupy, shameless sap. However, this is what Crowe does best, and his new feature film continues his winning streak of movies that strongly detail character and unexpected emotions, rather than technological wizardry. “Elizabethtown” is a valentine to relationships and special moments, and Crowe captures it all with his trademarked adoration for the idiosyncrasies of life.

Athletic shoe designer Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) has just learned his surefire hit creation cost his company close to one billion dollars in losses. On his way to commit suicide, Drew also learns his father has passed away while visiting his extended family. At the behest of his mother (Susan Sarandon), Drew flies to Kentucky to retrieve the body and arrange a funeral, meeting a friendly flight attendant named Claire (Kristen Dunst) along the way, to whom he takes an immediate liking. Struggling to keep tranquil while being swarmed by relatives (including Paul Schneider, Loudon Wainwright, and Bruce McGill), Drew finds solace in Claire’s company, all the while struggling to figure out how this death, coupled with his professional catastrophe, will eventually shape him.

Cameron Crowe makes motion pictures about moments, not momentum. Maybe that’s why his films tend to annoy a select few in the world who can’t wrap their minds around screenplays that take pride in baring their optimistic soul. After taking a slight detour from his usual trappings of love and life with the underrated 2001 thriller “Vanilla Sky,” Crowe returns to explore the one subject that has made him indispensable in the cinema landscape: people.

Admittedly, Crowe has been down this road of relationships, grief, and fatigue before. “Elizabethtown” is the type of film that if you’re not inside its snug embrace within ten minutes, you might as well head back home. It’s Crowe’s most jittery production, due to some last minute editing to get an unwieldy running time down; however, there’s an unmistakable potency to the honeyed enchantment contained within the picture. Crowe is at his best when concentrating on characters coming together, be it through love, anger, or friendship and “Elizabethtown” is a film dedicated to acknowledging those fragile strings of connection. How better to celebrate the dysfunction of human chemistry than with Crowe’s favorite arsenal: music, indecision, and precise moments of idiosyncrasy.

Strictly speaking about plot, “Elizabethtown” is Crowe’s most loosey goosey film to date, at times randomly searching the frame for objects and people to lock on to. The story of Drew’s trip to Elizabethtown is only the beginning of the journey for the character and the film, but Crowe manages to keep his scenes focused long enough to manufacture a warmly glowing flow that has become the filmmaker’s trademark. Through Drew’s introspective narration, in which he details his professional hell along with his reluctance to feel anything, “Elizabethtown” is an immediately ingratiating experience. It’s a film about family, and Crowe gets right into that thicket with POV shots of Drew infiltrating his father’s extended clan (including a scene-stealing Paula Deen), and the suffocation that typically accompanies meeting familiar strangers at household gatherings. I think everyone can relate to that sensation. And in the middle of the hectic funeral complications, there’s this intimate, tender relationship blossoming between Drew and Claire, and their abnormally restrained (non)courtship.

What really surprises about the film is Crowe’s ability to get a performance of substance out of Orlando Bloom. Always the swashbuckler or the silent threat, Bloom (who could’ve used Legolas’s aim in nailing down an American accent) professionally leaps miles forward with “Elizabethtown,” giving a handsomely comprehensive performance that shows a rainbow of reactions and considerations never asked of this actor before. This is miles ahead of what the actor has simply been allowed to do up to this point, and the challenge is long overdue. Bloom needs time to grow as an actor, but this is a pleasant indication that there’s hope behind those eerie good looks of his.

Kirsten Dunst is also blessed with an intricate role that the actress runs away with. Playing an adult for once, Dunst’s Claire is not the typical girl-of-dreams fantasy, but mostly a beautiful dork that has mastered the fine art of masking emotions with goofy, persistent charm. Dunst really captures Claire’s insecurities with the character’s realization that this relationship might not be meant for the long term. There’s a reaction shot of Clair in a bubble bath after finally getting Drew to admit his attraction to her that is both indicative of the character’s victory with a man she adores and wonderful button on Dunst’s entire performance, where she makes earnest, unwieldy affection look so appealing and real.

While an unabashed valentine to the title city, “Elizabethtown” makes an unexpected move in the final reel, and takes a literal road trip around the American Midwest as Drew gets to spend overdue time with his father. Crowe essentially drops the plot entirely as Drew drives from location to location (scored with detailed mix CDs from Claire), giving the audience a chance to enjoy roadside attractions and landmarks, and allowing Drew his glorious moments of paternal bonding. While many themes run throughout “Elizabethtown,” one of the juicier veins is the idea of taking time to smell the roses, and appreciating as many moments as one can. In this odd but entirely appropriate conclusion, Crowe practices what he preaches, and winds the picture down on an eloquent note of achievement.

“Elizabethtown” is an irresistibly comfy experience, like a wearing a thick sweater during the bitterest days of winter, reading a book a foot deep into a soft couch, or listening to an Abba CD at top volume. It scoops the viewer up and hugs affectionately as it tries to present locations and feelings not typically indulged by the average film.

Cameron Crowe has added another demonstrative, delightfully acted picture to his filmography, and I hope we don’t have to wait another five years to get more from him.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=12837&reviewer=404
originally posted: 10/14/05 00:14:15
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Toronto Film Festival For more in the 2005 Toronto Film Festival series, click here.
OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Chicago Film Festival For more in the 2005 Chicago Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/05/16 Lucia There is literally NOTHING likable about any of the characters in this film. 1 stars
3/18/14 Fykvvqfc Since Aflac japanese remains the No.Men left sterile by cancer treatment as well as with th 4 stars
2/21/14 Bgpstiag 99 unlimited streaming and binary options australia turn it into something bigger., <a href 5 stars
2/19/14 Lola This is the funniest, most spot-on review of this film -- I laughed so hard I peed myself 5 stars
2/13/14 gGrWfmlqrQcdI sverige.txt;1 4 stars
7/01/10 Ninjaboy This dude has written the BEST movie review I have EVER read. It is accurate and 100% corre 1 stars
3/15/10 Shoy I think this reviewer's got issues beyond his hatred of Elizabethtown. I enjoyed the film. 4 stars
2/21/10 Cat Garbage on every leve. As a chick it is ofensive. Orlando Bloom is wooden in this film. 1 stars
1/25/10 Ato I'm happy people have finally realised that Orlando Bloom IS NOT A LEADING MAN!! 1 stars
12/21/09 tom absolutely terrible. No redeemable merit AT ALL! 1 stars
7/18/09 Meg WORST. EVER. 1 stars
11/03/08 Will sucked balls. 1 stars
10/25/08 John McCarthy I had to give up half way through and read angry reviews to feel normal again 1 stars
8/21/08 Stephanie Oh my god, this movie was AWFUL. Pointless, boring, and 2.5 hours of my life GONE FOREVER! 1 stars
8/13/08 Brenda I didn't like it. The main character is unlikable. It has huge sections of nothing. Dull! 1 stars
4/26/08 Pinoy Kabayan Very good. Ilike it 5 stars
4/25/08 Roz Couldn't stand it. Boring on so many levels. 1 stars
4/09/07 Jessie Lee Good film... Not perfect, but not the horrid trash some may lead you to believe. 3 stars
3/10/07 Dominic Rubbish - and this is from someone who is an unabashed Almost Famous fan 1 stars
10/22/06 meredith the feel of the movie was fantastic but the plot was a little piontless but i loved the dia 4 stars
8/25/06 Joe Chris Parry's review is more amusing than the film. Watch "Jerry Maguire" again instead. 2 stars
8/14/06 Ashley Hinz Strange little movie, but fine. 4 stars
5/19/06 Christine Wilbik Boring, lost interest in the movie immediately 2 stars
3/25/06 Thomas Semesky A film that I liked, but I can understand why others wouldn't 3 stars
3/14/06 Michelle D Just read Chris Parry's review. 1 stars
3/12/06 Roderick Cromar Really not good. It's difficult either to believe the plot or to sympathise with the leads. 2 stars
2/27/06 Kevin Smith Orlando Bloom is not a good actor 1 stars
2/25/06 Murray Snowdon total and utter waste of time - pathetic 1 stars
2/23/06 ES Didn't hate it, didn't love it. Re-watchability 0% 3 stars
12/21/05 Kirsten Dunst fan in mourning starting with virgin suicides Painful seeing Kirsten Dunst morph into totally thinking her shit don't stink! 1 stars
12/17/05 Once great Kirsten Dunst continues downward spiral. Anyone else find Claire to be obnoxious?? 2 stars
11/08/05 kammie love love loved it!!! 5 stars
11/08/05 tanja some good ideas and curious dialogues mixed with poor acting 3 stars
11/06/05 rod james Total boring rubbish 1 stars
11/05/05 Laura petersen one of my favorites, more of a chick flick and im not even a orlando fan 5 stars
10/23/05 GiR It was adorable..but not worth paying to see it..good thing I work at a movie theatre. 4 stars
10/23/05 Don A good "substitute" for the movie you came to see . . . 4 stars
10/23/05 John I turned to my wife halfway through, and said that I want to get on his bicycle now 1 stars
10/22/05 jay straight forward poop 1 stars
10/22/05 baseball-nut I didn't care for it, but my wife liked it considering she's an Orlando Bloom fan! 3 stars
10/21/05 Boombala Hey If Kirsten Dunst's head exploded, would it affect her acting? 1 stars
10/20/05 john mills The Congo of romance. Simply awful!!! 1 stars
10/20/05 Bri really, really good! definately worth watching 5 stars
10/19/05 odditie Please make better decisions Orlando! 1 stars
10/18/05 Steve Michaud Even "lesser" Cameron Crowe is scads better than most of the stuff churned out these days. 4 stars
10/18/05 Ron Sandvick Excellent and fun 5 stars
10/17/05 Ryan Possibly a movie that non-20somethings just won't get. Understandably. 4 stars
10/16/05 ajay man, there's a lot of people down on Cameron Crowe. It's not a bad flick. 3 stars
10/16/05 jeff just stupid!!! 1 stars
10/15/05 Cara Undoubtedly, this is the worst movie I have ever seen in my entire 54 years of existence. 1 stars
10/15/05 Tommy Adams Left me speechless, as few moviews have. Loved it! 5 stars
10/14/05 Jim The Movie Freak This should've been better 3 stars
10/14/05 Criddler Diddler More embarassingly inept garbage from pretentious hack Cameron Crowe? Hurray! 1 stars
10/11/05 Alonso Duralde Horrible! Cutesy/phony/precious/fartsy—maybe even worse than "Vanilla Sky." Avoid! 1 stars
10/10/05 Dan Moore very insightful film on human nature 5 stars
9/28/05 E. Northam Lightweight, predictable romantic comedy 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  14-Oct-2005 (PG-13)
  DVD: 07-Feb-2006

UK
  N/A

Australia
  03-Nov-2005


Directed by
  Cameron Crowe

Written by
  Cameron Crowe

Cast
  Orlando Bloom
  Kirsten Dunst
  Susan Sarandon
  Judy Greer
  Jessica Biel
  Alec Baldwin



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