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Laramie Movie Scope:
My Blueberry Nights

A humble little picture, hanging in a dark corner, rewarding its viewer

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by Patrick Ivers, Film Critic
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(2007) "At the end of that night," narrates Elizabeth (Norah Jones, who also sings on the soundtrack), "I decided to take the longest way to cross the street." A humble little picture, quite unobtrusive, hanging in a dark corner, directed by Kar Wai Wong (who co-wrote the script with Lawrence Block), waiting for someone to take a closer, longer, rewarding look at it.

At Café Kdyuck in New York City, Elizabeth inquires of the owner Jeremy (Jude Law) if her boyfriend's eaten there recently: two plates of porkchops, shared with a lady. She leaves a set of keys behind for him, the boyfriend, who doesn't come by to pick them up. Other keys are collected in a jar, each having a story, including Jeremy's of a Russian girlfriend who disappeared into a sunset while he waited in one place.

Elizabeth keeps coming back, night after night, watching highlights from security-camera tapes and eating blueberry pie - at the end of the day, says Jeremy, there's "always a whole blueberry pie left untouched."

Then she suddenly, heartbroken, departs on a bus, ending up (57 days after leaving her keys with Jeremy) 1120 miles since New York in Memphis, Tennessee, waitressing at a diner during the day and in Travis's bar at night, trying to save enough money to buy a car.

In the bar Lizzy makes acquaintance with Arnie Copeland - an alcoholic cop, "king of the [sobriety] white chips," generous with his tips - whose younger, unfaithful (they're separated) wife Sue Lynne (Rachel Weisz) he threatens with his gun as she's about to leave the tavern ("PULL" says the door).

She sends Jeremy postcards without a return address; thoughts of blueberry pie serve as her sobriety chips. The sunset girl Katya (Chan Marshall) pays Jeremy a brief visit on her way to the airport on the 185th day and 3906 miles since Lizzy left.

At the Hotel Nevada casino (5603 miles since New York on day 251) Beth watches Leslie (Natalie Portman) play poker - "You can be cheap or you can be lucky, but you can't be both" - before the gambling gal, in need of a $1000 to get back into the game, offers the waitress a proposition of either a third of her winnings or her fancy car (as collateral) in exchange for a loan of $2200 (all of Beth's savings). As they drive together to Las Vegas to see Leslie's dying father (who in raising her taught her to count by playing cards so that she first thought the number after ten was jack), the gamestress attempts to teach her trusting, gullible companion how to read people and leverage the table.

But Beth likes herself better with each person into whose face she looks for a reflection of herself. Three hundred days later she's back where she started but very different as a person.

Click here for links to places to buy or rent this movie in video and/or DVD format, or to buy the soundtrack, posters, books, even used videos, games, electronics and lots of other stuff. I suggest you shop at least two of these places before buying anything. Prices seem to vary continuously. For more information on this film, click on this link to The Internet Movie Database. Type in the name of the movie in the search box and press enter. You will be able to find background information on the film, the actors, and links to much more information.

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Copyright © 2009 Patrick Ivers. All rights reserved.
Reproduced with the permission of the copyright holder.
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Patrick Ivers can be reached via e-mail at nora's email address at juno. [Mailer button: image of letter and envelope]

(If you e-mail me with a question about this or any other movie or review, please mention the name of the movie you are asking the question about, otherwise I may have no way of knowing which film you are referring to)