Elizabethtown, a Romantic Treat

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The photography is as fine as in many good looking films and the soundtrack should be up there with the true greats, it also a fine education in the music of 70 and 80s Americana. Not surprising as Crowe started out his professional life as a writer for Rolling Stone, at its height of influence. Also a reason why the score is written by Nancy Wilson, daughter of the internationally renowned recluse and Beach Boys legend Brian Wilson.

 

So, there are two reasons to take a look at this unloved little gem. Another two are the central performances by Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst as a good Samaratan in the guise of a local airline air hostess. Bloom may not be everybody’s cup of tea, he just about held Kingdom of Heaven together, but here he plays well the put-upon son having to escort his father’s body back to his mother, Susan Sarandon’s, home after his sudden demise. He is also the failed whizz kid entrepreneur of shoe firm who has cost the company, an ersatz Nike, the same amount of money as the value of a small country or $748million, as Bloom’s former boss Alec Bladwin wearily puts it before firing the sap. He leaves his former workplace, a building of cutting-edge anonimity, believing life only being important because of success and sets to kill himself with a contraption made out of his very expensive mountain bike a Sabatier knife; of course only the best will do. He is saved by a phone call. 

 

All right, Sarandon’s role is not top notch and there is something wrong about the character who seems to be a year down the road to dealing with a serious loss rather than just a couple of weeks, in one scene she tap dances in front of an audience of 200 and I don’t think we needed to see that. Just the curtains opening would have been enough. But that is not reason enough to sink the film. Much of the movie is basically the story of a clash between West coast city values and the rest of Bloom’s family who are good ol’ boys but not clichés from Kentucky, the home of a great horse race and a very fine bourbon. It is also a road movie and an engaging love story. Dunst plays the charms of Kentuckian believably enough, but then I have been charmed by her performances since her first major role in Virgin Suicides. The film is heart warming, showing the redemptive power of love, nothing more, and it is worth another look. It is also Bloom’s finest piece of acting to date.