Film review – My Blueberry Nights (2007)

The America of late night dinners, seedy bars, casinos and the open road is a favourite terrain for many filmmakers, songwriters and authors. For his first English speaking film, Chinese director Wong Kar-wai (In the Mood for Love, 2046) has adopted this familiar vision of Americana for My Blueberry Nights.

After a failed relationship young drifter Elizabeth travels around the USA where she encounters a lonely cafe owner (Jude Law), an alcoholic cop (David Strathairn) mourning his separation from his wife (Rachel Weisz) and a professional poker player (Natalie Portman). The entire cast give engaging and intimate performances with singer-songwriter Norah Jones as Elizabeth making an impressive acting debut.

A series of vignettes about heartache and lost love, My Blueberry Nights recalls Wong’s earlier films Chungking Express and Fallen Angels. As to be expected from all Wong Kar Wai films, the cinematography is a beautiful composition of soft focus, striking camera angels, evocative close-ups and warm, rich colours. My Blueberry Nights is a visual feast and the inclusion of a seductive bluesy soundtrack further adds to its mesmerising romantic melancholy.

© Thomas Caldwell, 2008