[*As you can imagine – this article contains spoilers. This is a review of one of my lifetime favourite films. Watch it first, then read it.]
How could I describe Elizabethtown without praising the man who makes the best connection between screenplay and film soundtrack? Your right Cameron Crowe’s film isn’t a mix of High Fidelity and Before Sunset, as I pretentiously imagined. But it’s a bit of that and for that reason, it’s already worth seeing over and over again.
The story between the shoe designer Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) and flight attendant Claire Colburn (Kirsten Dunst) is even too predictable. He’s lost and she’s way predictable.
But that’s what it is fun. To start with, Kirsten, as you can imagine, rocks in the role of Claire.
That’s why Claire is a kind of Rob Fleming/Amelie Poulain/Clementine (Eternal Sunshine of a Spotless Mind) in this plot. She is for sure, a sweet creature, full of great pop culture references, and at the same time a bit crazy and funny.
All in the right measure. “Hard to remember, but impossible to forget”, as she defines herself. It’s impossible not to like Claire!
And that’s exactly when she and this little Kentucky town come into the life of the sad Drew [the one who lost his job, girlfriend, and father. All at the same time]. And that is when you start to understand what film is about.
Elizabethtown is full of interesting references. Music, cinema, American history, you name it. Exactly what you should expect of a Crowe’s film.
If you like this kind of film, you know what I mean – Easy-to-love music references in scenes like when the couple watches the sunrise together (Learning to fly moment – Tom Petty) after they spent the whole night “getting to know each other talking on the phone” (Come Pick Me Up, Ryan Adams).
Or like one, when she gives, Drew the “basic map” to join a trip back home, which actually means the “When On The Road meets High Fidelity” part of the film. You need to watch to know what I mean. And that is, by the way, one of Cameron Crowe’s best film sequences.
I would risk saying it is better than when Tom Cruise (who also produces Elizabethtown) is inside a car listening to Radiohead, in Vanilla Sky, and even better than when the Stillwater, Penny Lane, and William Miller are in the band bus listening to Tiny Dancers, in Almost Famous.
Susan Saradon is also brilliant as Baylor’s widow and makes me quite emotional when she honours her deceased husband with a tap dance act. The film has several other small parts, but also important appearances such as Alec Baldwin (the boss) and Jessica Biel (the ex-girlfriend) also enrich Crowe’s film.
And although the director has staked all the chips on Orlando Bloom, and even waited for the British actor to be available for the role of Drew, who shines in the film is definitely Kirsten Dunst.
And if this is still not Crowe’s best film, it’s not just the story of a “troubled young man who falls in love with a stewardess,” as the paper’s synopses synthesized. Not to mention that there is a big difference between failing and being a complete fiasco and the 120 minutes of Elizabethtown manages to answer this question in a quite great way.