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Hours after a ruinous product debut, suicidal industrial designer Drew Baylor learns of his father's sudden death. As the only son, Drew must travel to their small hometown of Elizabethtown, Kentucky to attend to his father's memorial. On the flight to Kentucky, D rew meets Claire, a quick-witted flight attendant, who helps him navigate the rough waters ahead and proves that amazing things happ en when you least expect them.
Elizabethtown has all of the elements of a great Cameron Crowe movie, but none of the Cameron Crowe vision that made Almost Famous work. It's mostly a series of sweet moments, each capped with the right song at the right time; in fact, the soundtrack is the real star of the movie, and the right song is all there is to piece together a film that is much less than the sum of its parts.
From the start of Elizabethtown, big contrasts are evoked: death and life, success and failure are side by side, so we're told. When the movie starts, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is experiencing failure and death in spades: the shoe he spent eight years designing for Mercury (a thinly-veiled copy of Nike) has been recalled, costing his company $972 million dollars. On the verge of a suicide attempt, he learns his father has died, and Drew flies to Kentucky to retrieve the body to Oregon for cremation. On the red-eye to Louisville he meets Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst), a perky flight attendant with a charming flair for cute lines ("I'm impossible to forget, but Im hard to remember," she chirps). Once in Elizabethtown, Drew tries to plan a memorial while dealing with relatives who have their own agenda in addition to his manic family back in Oregon, all while facing the reality that in a few days he'll be known nationally as one of his industry's most legendary failures. Yet still he manages to connect with Claire on an all-night cell phone conversation--complete with the requisite watching of the sunrise--and to strike up a furtive romance.
So we now have death and life side by side. But despite these dramatic shifts, what sets up to be a roller coaster ride of a film flattens out to a milquetoast middle ground with no real life of its own. Drew Baylor has suffered two tragic personal losses in the course of one day, but you wouldn't know it from Bloom's lethargic performance. There's not much to Claire either. Her whole character is made up mostly of cutesy quotable lines and mysterious little smirks. In the end, Elizabethtown is a film that doesn't know what it wants to be, and unfortunately there's no payoff, other than a few memorable lines and a great soundtrack.--Dan Vancini
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Top Customer Reviews
Suspend your serious side for this movie and just enjoy the ride. I found the observation of characters (big town back to small town) intensely funny and accurate, coming from an urban area surrounded by rural small towns and villages. I realised the mortality of my parents, a key message in the film, tell them what you think of them before it's too late. And ok, Kirsten Dunst's character may focus on her glass being half-full rather than half-empty but my wife has done things for me such as a treasure trail for a Valentine's Day gift, (like the route trip planner in the book but on a smaller scale) etc and these are the sort of things that matter to me in a relationship and I'm sure that many blokes would agree.
Apart from the witty observations of characters in the movie, and I found so much to laugh or smile at in the film, the soundtrack is just out of this world, in it's variety and it's piecing together of the right emotions with the right clips. I have ordered both volumes on CD and I hope I will one day, drive this trip.
It's not action packed, it's not in your face, there's no special fx but if you want a feel-good movie that demands your concentration, this is one of the best and most enjoyable movies that I have seen.
Obviously, I'm a bit out-numbered here, so logic would dictate maybe you should rent it or borrow it before buying it. But it has got heart, and some genuinely comedic moments. It's basically about one guys journey from being virtually alienated from his family, living in a very emotionally shallow world, to finding himself and having a purpose in life.
Yes, the overall theme of it is a bit soppy, and if you thrive on thought-provoking, convention-questioning endings then you won't be satisfied. But if you want a warm, feelgood, redemption movie, (maybe "redemption" is a bit too dramatic, but you'll get what I mean), then please give it the time it deserves and take it for a spin.
I thoroughly enjoyed this film. If you like Cameron Crowe's work on Almost Famous, then you can't help but love this. It captures a very similar mood and atmosphere and holds many of the key signature themes/references that make Crowe's work so magical. There are some truely wonderful moments in it and Kirsten Dunst is, as always, enchanting. She was a the typically beautiful and bewildering leading lady that Crowe seems to capture so well. Like a combination of Crowe's own creation Penny Lane, and Natalie Portman's character in Zach Braff's Garden State. Though not usually a fan of Orlando Bloom's work, I learnt to love him in this. The chemistry is perfect between them, although I sometimes wished it was Billy Crudup standing in his place.
The star of the movie however would have to be the soundtrack. Crowe is the soundtrack master, and this film is probably the best example of this. The final 20 minutes of the film (which is by far the best bit) is set to some of the best picked songs ever played in film. Even if the film doesn't tickle your fancy, try the soundtrack...it is pure genius.
All in all, I was truely captured by this film, and would recommend it to anyone with a soul and a love of good guitar music.
Am I crazy, or is Hollywood actually turning out some darn good movies in the last couple of years? Not the big blockbusters, of course. I'm talking about quirky little comedies and dramas that usually don't pay for themselves at the box office but do actually reflect something of intelligence and emotional meaning - films like Elizabethtown. Yes, the last quarter of the film basically wanders off on its own (the perfectly ridiculous memorial service is exceedingly over-the-top) and dilutes the overall effectiveness of the story, but this is still a wonderful little film that actually has something to say about life and love. As much as I liked the story, though, I'm not sure it would have worked at all without Kirsten Dunst. Few actresses have the natural charm and power to brighten up even the darkest of days just by showing up, and it was Dunst's manic energy that really drew me into this whole story.
Everyone makes mistakes - but only a handful make mistakes that cost their company almost one billion dollars. Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is one of that ill-fated number. Who knew there was a billion dollars to be won or lost in the shoe business? This fiasco is so big that Drew decides to kill himself. His attempt is preempted, however, by a phone call carrying the news that his father has died while visiting his hometown friends and family.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I love this film. The characters are interesting and quirky, and yes Mr bloom isn't the greatest actor but his bemused detachment at events unfolding out of his control is most... Read morePublished 13 months ago by Mr. Christopher Limb
Great family sort of film. Initially his life is ruined due to a massive business failure, not clear how you lose a billion dollars on shoes but he managed it and he was going to... Read morePublished 13 months ago by dix-neuf
Beautiful, uplifting, full of hope and possibility. One of the loveliest films.Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
I love this so much that I bought the soundtrack. Excellent, happy film.Published 15 months ago by Lauran
This is the worst 'movie' ever filmed. It is ridiculously bad. Appalling 'story line', script and acting,
The nutters who give it anything other than one star are... Read more