My Blueberry Nights (2007)

Wong’s English-language debut could be his weakest film, though there are moments of soulfulness to savour. 

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.

Review #236

Dir. Wong Kar Wai
2007 | Hong Kong/USA | Drama/Romance | 95 mins | 2.35:1 | English
PG (passed clean) for mature thematic material including violence, drinking and smoking

Cast: Norah Jones, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, Rachel Weisz
Plot: A young lonely woman takes a soul-searching journey across America to resolve her questions about love while encountering a series of offbeat characters along the way.
Awards: Nom. for Palme d’Or (Cannes)

Distributor: Studiocanal

Accessibility Index
Subject Matter: Moderate
Narrative Style: Straightforward
Pace: Slightly Slow
Audience Type: Slightly Arthouse

Viewed: In Theatres
First Published: 1 Dec 2007
Spoilers: No

My Blueberry Nights happens to be the first Wong Kar Wai film that I have seen.  And it also happens to be Wong’s debut English language film.  A well-known auteur whose works are highly original and visually artistic, Wong’s ability has never been called into question. 

Often he works without official scripts, is an advocate of improvisation, and definitely very demanding on his cast.  Wong rose to prominence with Chungking Express (one of Quentin Tarantino’s personal favorites); later he directed pictures such as In the Mood for Love, and 2046, both critically-acclaimed as well.

I’m not familiar with Wong’s style, but My Blueberry Nights more or less displayed his talents to a credible level of distinctiveness.  Using impressive colors and sounds, he paints like an artist, weaving delicate scenes one after another.  

The choice of soundtrack accompaniment is just perfect; the jazzy score and songs used remind us of nostalgic days when life was simple and sweet.  Yes, it may be slow and mundane; however, the pacing of the film allows us to admire Wong’s unique visual style.

“So what’s wrong with the blueberry pie?”

My Blueberry Nights is also Norah Jones’ first foray into acting.  Taking that into account, she makes a quite reasonable start to her acting career.  Her ability to express different facial emotions is sometimes suspect though.  

The pick of the bunch here is Oscar-nominated David Strathairn.  He gives a sincere, sympathetic display that captures the soul of the film. 

My Blueberry Nights is clearly a movie about the ups and downs of life, and the extent to which different people do to ease their pain.  Suicide, gambling, alcohol consumption etc. are what most would contemplate.  The consequences have far-reaching effects that many would be too ignorant to take it seriously. 

It’s a pessimistic film, but eventually, it calls upon everyone to treasure everything that they have.  I believe My Blueberry Nights is one of Wong’s weakest pictures, but it’s still one to remember for. 

Grade: B



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