Director: Fatih Akin, Mira Nair, Brett Ratner,
Shekhar Kapur, Natalie Portman, Allen Hughes, Yvan Attal,
Jiang Wen, Joshua Marston, Randy Balsmeyer, Shunji Iwai
Cast: Natalie Portman, Shia LaBeouf, Orlando
Bloom, Olivia Thirlby, Hayden Christensen, Ethan Hawke, Andy
Garcia, Rachel Bilson, Bradley Cooper, Chris Cooper, Maggie
Q, Anton Yelchin, Shu Qi, Christina Ricci, Blake Lively, Julie
Christie, Burt Young, John Hurt, Robin Wright Penn, James
RunTime: 1 hr 50 mins
Released By: Cathay-Keris Films
Official Website: http://www.newyorkiloveyouthemovie.com/
Day: 14 January 2010
the city that never sleeps, love is always on the mind. Those
passions come to life in "New York, I Love You"
- a collaboration of storytelling from some of today's most
imaginative filmmakers and featuring an all-star cast. Together
they create a kaleidoscope of the spontaneous, surprising,
electrifying human connections that pump the city's heartbeat.
Sexy, funny, haunting and revealing encounters unfold beneath
the Manhattan skyline. From Tribeca to Central Park to Brooklyn
the story weaves a tale of love as diverse as the very fabric
of New York itself.
Putting together various short stories of a common theme into one movie is quite a novelty but it follows in the same vein of a theatrical showcase of ten-minute plays, which has been around for quite a while and has been gaining popularity. The short stories provide the audience with a variety of vignettes, a somewhat alternative to the more traditional form of just one story in a feature length movie. The more recent Paris, Je T’aime (Paris, I Love You) is an example of such a featurette.
Following in the vein of its predecessor, New York, I Love You, a city forms the backdrop for a tapestry of love stories. In this instance, the hustle and bustle of New York replaces the romance and whimsical nature of Paris. Also, in this outing, there is again a list of the who’s who from the acting fraternity gracing the screen despite having to contend with one another for screen time.
Producer and the man behind the concept of the Paris edition, Emmanuel Benbihy resumes similar duties on this movie and while the attempt should be lauded, he should consider selecting the right stories for the featurette and not just fitting in movies for the sake of doing so. While Paris, I Love You was well-received, the same cannot be said for the New York edition but more of that later. Word around the trade is that he has begun pre-production on Shanghai, I Love You and hopes to follow that up with Jerusalem, I Love You. While the prospect of either sounds interesting, there is surely a worry if things are being rushed.
New York, I Love You is a mess. First-time directors like Natalie Portman (who also acts in a vignette) are given an opportunity to mix things up with the likes of Brett Ratner (who hasn’t really got a track record for romance) and Shekhar Kapur (period picture auteur). The decision to intertwine all the stories together without having characters that recur in other stories has proven to be an unwise choice. The result is that some stories are told in its entirety while some are scattered all over that it gets a bit confusing for the audience especially so in the first half of the movie, when they are unable to follow which character belongs to which story.
The myriad of characters, while allowing the likes of Robin Wright Penn, Shia LaBeouf and Shu Qi to act alongside one another, are generally uninteresting thus making the stories themselves plain and drab with the exception of the one involving veteran stalwarts Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach. The uninspired stories also do not depict the true nature of the very vibrant city of New York City and its other inhabitants. The same can be said about its landscape. This anthology could very well have been set in any other urban town and could have been passed off as New York. It did not feel authentically New York to the non-New Yorker.
Benbihy needs to really consider the style in which he should approach the next city in this love anthology. It would be great to see the mystic nature of Shanghai being the backdrop of a romance anthology; this reviewer hopes much justice will be done to it.
(Instead of a burst of serotonin, one might leave the cinema washed over with boredom)
Review by Mohamad Shaifulbahri