Lulu on the Bridge (1998) Poster

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a gem of a film
ttor25 November 2000
This movie is an original - a gem. Fifteen minutes after it was over I began weeping - I was so touched. It is never too late. One can lead a rotten life, but there is always hope - even in the strangest of times - to find love and to become a person worthy of being loved in return. To provide more details would undermine the movie's original theme. Indeed, the description on this web page is not at all what the film is really about. I don't know why the ratings aren't higher. Perhaps the movie is lost on impatient souls who need lots of action to keep their attention intact.
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Actually, Kind Of Neutral On This Strange Film
ccthemovieman-119 May 2006
This is mainly a two-actor film with Harvey Keitel playing a low-key (at least for him!) character and Mia Sorvino playing his young girlfriend. They dominate the story.

In an odd way, this is an interesting film although a bit "soapy" in parts for my tastes. It has a bit of a mystifying element with this strange stone as part of the story, yet they don't elaborate on it. Actually, this is more of a romance story....but at leaves a number of questions. One doesn't quite figure out Willem Dafoe's character is in here and the ending was very strange and not altogether satisfying, either. Perhaps another look or two would have been a better option before writing this. I haven't read any reviews but I suspect people really got into this film and liked it or were bored to death. Actually, I was somewhere in the middle. I was more interested in the cinematography.

Note: "Lulu" is named for a character played by silent screen star Louise Brooks.
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One of my favorites -- here's why
myfriendisataco21 May 2004
I see that opinions for Lulu are either 'I loved it' or 'I hated it.' There's a good reason. This is a very different film, with spiritual and other-worldly overtones -- it's definitely spooky. I could not have imagined where the story finally ended up, but it requires a lot of imagination to understand it (think, "Where does the mind go when it loses consciousness? And, what is the real meaning of 'time'?"). If you don't like it, that's fine -- maybe you just don't get it. Nothing wrong with that -- it's pretty deep. But for me, it's a form of pure entertainment that I cannot find anywhere else. I loved it. I bought a copy on DVD. I tell my friends about it. The ending is a definite surprise, but there are lots of other surprises throughout. Why not find out for yourself?
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Multi-layered masterpiece
deedee200510 November 2000
I saw this little gem of a film last year, forgot about it, then decided to buy it. On a second viewing I realized how much I missed the first time around. The scientific/mythical/mystical/spiritual interpretations are left up to the individual, and I found myself leaning toward the mystical/spiritual, especially when the film-within-a-film (Pandora's Box) entered the plot. While some might have felt this whole episode was irrelevant, to me it was central in a kind of a skewed way that wasn't really developed. Anyone familiar with the myth of Pandora's Box will recognize the significance of the "rock in the box" that causes lives to change in a dramatic, profound way. Izzy's state of consciousness during the film is simply a device -an interesting one- to tell a story.

Seeing Dafoe and Keitel working together again (first time since Last Temptation of Christ?) was a delight. Both are capable of a tremendous range, but chose restraint in this film, and it worked. The interogation scenes in the warehouse were mesmerizing. I love this film!
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It is only at the film's end that the discerning viewer understands what has really transpired.
wfrost9 November 2005
Like many of New York City waitresses, Celia Burns is an aspiring actress. Izzy Maurer, a jazz saxophonist recovering from a gunshot wound, contacts her after finding her name along with a stone having magical properties, one of which propels them into a love affair. Through her talent, and friends of Izzy's ex-wife, Celia is able to land the part of Lulu, one which most actresses could only dream of. Izzy is held captive and Celia chased by a mysterious man claiming to have a doctorate in anthropology who wants the magical stone. It is only at the film's end that the discerning viewer understands what has really transpired. The all star cast does not disappoint.
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Truly unique
NateWatchesCoolMovies15 June 2016
Lulu On The Bridge is an odd one, and that's a compliment. It subtly strains at the constrictions of genre until you realize just how unique it has gotten right under your nose. I've always thought of it as the Abel Ferrara fiom that he never made. Harvey Keitel delivers a home run of a lead performance as Izzy Maurer, a renowned jazz musician who loses his ability to play after he is shot by a lunatic gunman (Kevin Corrigan) while he is performing his music in a cafe. He sinks into a deep depression following the incident, and then something curious happens. One day he finds a mysterious stone, with a phone number attached to it and some seemingly supernatural qualities which alter the psyche, mood and perception of anyone in its vicinity. The phone number leads him to Celia Burns (the ever excellent and under estimated Mira Sorvino), an aspiring actress who's fallen just south of the success line, and has a taste for Izzy's music. The two seem destined to meet and as you might guess, begin a passionate love affair that begins to get a bit obsessive, with strong hints directed towards the stone that seems to govern will and volition. Their romance is hot, heavy and volatile, threatened when a mysterious man named Dr. Can Horn (a classy but dangerous Willem Dafoe) separately kidnaps them in attempt to retrieve the stone. The script deliberately shades over its true intentions until the very last minute, stopping to pick many dialogue and thematic flowers along the way, as well as leave a few red herrings behind. Gina Gershon is great as Izzy's ex wife, and the monumantal supporting cast also includes Richard Edson, the great Victor Argo, Harold Perrineau, Mandy Patinkin, Vanessa Redgrave and a brief Lou Reed who is pricelessly credited as 'Not Lou Reed'. If you snag a DVD you can also see deleted scenes work from Stockard Channing, Jared Harris, Josef Sommer and Giancarlo Esposito. The film attempts music, mystery, doomed love, urban mysticism, thriller and drama elements. I'm happy to report that it succeeds at all of them, a gem not unlike the mcguffin stone within the plot, and a haunting little modern fairy tale. Check it out.
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Really excellent, captivating movie, makes you think and feel
frog-645 November 2005
I got in one hour after it had started. It starred Harvey Keitel, whom I especially like and wanted to watch it because of him. Then Wilem DaFoe was there also, second reason to continue watching. Then, again, Mandy Patikin, number three great actor. I liked the character Harvey was playing, a soft spoken, quiet man, much different than many of his other characters. It was more like his character in 'The Piano'. I was pulled in and couldn't stop watching. I didn't know what had come before, so couldn't completely understand it, but just had to keep watching. As in a mystery, I thought I knew what was going on and I knew I had to see the entire movie at that point. It's more like a play than a movie, and excellently done. Great cinematography. Great suspense. Stunning finish. Really made me think and feel deeply.
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A nice little sleeper of a movie
tomsims13 April 2000
I didn't know what to expect before viewing this film. Certainly the title gave no clues and was a bit of a turn-off. However, right from the start I found the story to be interesting. It had a lot of twists and turns that kept my interest throughout. It is one of those pictures that you are better not knowing anything, so I won't reveal any of the plot. Suffice to say this script made for enjoyable watching and I am surprised that other viewers did not rate it as highly as I did.
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Worked for Me
tedg14 July 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Here's a movie that has a Zero Rating at Rotten Tomatoes. It has some tremendously bad acting. The story ends in a way that most viewers seem cheated. Its poorly edited and photographed. But it still worked for me because the idea is so clever that I happily make the leap, completing the movie.

Here's the general shape: man is shot and lays dying. He has a vision of girl who he falls in love with, a magical stone causes this. (This is a piece of plaster that falls on him when he is shot.) Its a sweet love story and the magical nature is apt for a movie about an inner movie.

But there are two complications that help. One is that our hero is captured and quizzed. Some dreary writing and the roughest parts of the film are associated with this bit. Its the second complication that has a special sparkle.

Our girl is an out of work actress who — again magically — gets the starring role as Lulu in a remake of "Pandora's Box." This is perhaps the most sexually charged film of all time: a perfect confluence of actress, svengali filmmaker and the cinematic properties of silent film-making.

Its a rather clever fold, yeah? A film about an inner film of love that both references and includes a landmark film. Its being made in Joyce's Dublin by a character played by Vanessa Redgrave.

More: our guy is particularly fond of "Singing in the Rain."

The fact that the girl in this case is profoundly unsexy and unappealing in most ways deepens the notion for me.

It works, if you let it.

Ted's Evaluation -- 3 of 3: Worth watching.
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Remarkably disturbing film with a terrible title!!..
hrlaser16 March 2001
I caught this film on HBO and it was really quite a remarkable experience. I had never heard of it before, and checking the "External Reviews" Link, I'm surprised so little of the mass critic media never reviewed it, such as Roger Ebert.

The title of this film is completely deceptive.. you'd think it's a kiddie film.. trust me, it's anything but. It has NOTHING to do with "Little LuLu" or kids for that matter.

This is a deeply disturbing, involving, dark, mysterious mystery/romance/thriller with some fantasy elements, but totally without glitz or pretension, beautifully filmed and acted, with a twist ending right out of Ambrose Bierce. Saying any more about the plot would spoil it, so that's all you get out of me..

I will say this.. if you enjoyed "Jacobs Ladder" you'll like this one.

Even more so, if the title "Occurance At Owl Creek Bridge" means anything to you, then you'll know what I'm talking about.

As to the two leads: Mira Sorvino is absolutely stunningly beautiful and radiant and you simply can NOT take your eyes off her.. she goes through a myriad of hairstyles and styles of clothing, everything from bed-wear (lingerie), to around-town casual, to elaborate film costuming (she acts in a film towards the end of _this_ film), and she is totally convincing, believable, and riveting.

Harvey Keitel delivers an absolutely gut-wrenching performance - as good as anything I've ever seen him do.. considering the emotions required of his character, and what he's put through, he too is totally convincing and riveting.

Here you have a pair of leads who spend a LOT of on-screen time together in a VERY complicated and mysterious relationship and they meld with each other almost perfectly.

The supporting cast is also excellent. Willem DaFoe does fine work in one of his dark, sinister trademark characters. The other big-name actors, including a cameo by Lou Reed as "Not Lou Reed" are solid as you could want.

This is an engrossing, engaging, adult film that for some reason, the critics almost completely ignored. Why?

If you sit down to watch it, watch it from end to end without interruptions.. you will be drawn into it, and involved and aborbed in it and when it ends, quite unexpectedly, you'll be left with some very interesting emotions.

If only they had given it a more suitable title..

9 out of 10 on a scale of 10.
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Disappointment of a lifetime
marvin_brando15 May 2001
Being an eager fan of Paul Austers writing I was very excited to get a chance to watch a film which he had both written and directed. All of his novels are clever, philosophical, and thrilling at the same time.

This movie, however, was a huge disappointment! The whole story, the script, and especially the pretentious acting made the watching of this film a semi-horror. Sorry to say, my idol, Paul Auster obviously has achieved a master degree in writing novels, while the form of a movie script seems to suit him all too badly.

My hopes for the future are twofold: either Mr. Auster learns from this experience how to do better movies or, simply, he'll stick to what he does best: writing novels!

As for all of you who have only seen this film and not read any of his novels: go now! to the library and dig in!
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Michelangelo's The Thinker
Robin Cook15 April 2006
I rented this DVD online and after it arrived I wondered what possessed me to order it at the time. The odd title and the seemingly droll storyline of a depressed musician was my first reflection of memory, but knew I HAD to have had a good reason to rent it. Knowing nothing of the artsy stuff in the movie realm, I do appreciate art when I see it and feel it ... and this movie has art written all over it. In viewing the great sculpture of The Thinker, this movie was sculptured with caring hands/thought and designed by a true thinking and uniquely creative artist.

One area of imperfection here is that the sex scenes could have been lessened and shortened as I felt it took much away from the movie's fine craft(iness). Fast-forward 2x, 4x all the way to 8x .. sex scene way too long. Padding or filler .. should have been on the editing cutter's floor.

This movie was more of a sculpture made of marble or bronze or perhaps gold? ... or silver? It has a beauty that is not easily defined or describable, but when viewed it leaves one with a distinct impression of stunning and thoughtful awe. After viewing, I asked myself how could the title have been made better, but the symbolism involved of the one scene makes the title appropriate and yet carved with a slight Mona Lisa grin.

Harvey Keitel's character was unique and I can't imagine anyone else being able to pull it off as he managed to do. I watched the movie as it unfolded each new particle of new thought to bridge to another, leaving me with using my own skills to fill in pieces and parts .. which was really enjoyable to do! And then, the surprise at the end, which I won't reveal, was charming and captivating. This one I'll definitely watch again before returning it in the mail and am considering buying it for my library. If you don't like symbolism, and are not a deep thinker, you'll not like this movie. This one is definitely a Criterion Collection formula. I can't say enough about it, but yet can't convey in words to properly give it the kudos that it deserves. Not a 10 vote, but a 15 or 20!
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Will It Ever End?
Tiger_Mark6 August 2003
I know that it was not, but it seemed like this film was about six hours long. Now by saying that, I am not implying you get your money's worth, quite the opposite. What I want to know, is how you could put together a cast this interesting and make a film so boring. I would feed you the plot, but it would bore you so much you would stop reading this review. Meanwhile, the "Academy Award Winning" Mira Sorvino (choke choke gasp gasp) is more and more being referenced with "I can't believe the Academy actually gave her an award." Cheer up, Mira, Angelina Jolie got one as well, she will take some heat off of you. * out of ****.
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Love this movie - well parts of it.
VivaMontapena17 December 2003
I just love this movie. Well parts of it. The entire movie, up until Izzy get's kidnapped, is great. I, believe it or not, did feel the connection between Izzy and Celia. I love Willem Defoe, however it just dragged after that point. I bought the book, have the soundtrack, just love love love it. I especially love the restaurant scene where Izzy loses his temper. Funny.
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A thoughtful and magical film by a talented artist.
paris-38 June 1999
Paul Auster's film is nothing short of genius, both in its unconventional structure and its intelligent examination of a 'life that might have been' through its main character, 'Izzy' and his idyll, 'Celia'. The narrative is suffused with magical details which propel the story along, keeping the viewer thinking all the time. The two main actors give engaging performances that succeed in creating the film's intimate atmosphere, well-supported by beautiful cinematography. 'Lulu' should appeal to viewers interested in thoughtful stories that work on a number of intellectual and emotional levels. An outstanding film rendering Auster's immense talent.
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Wonderful little gem of a film
Benvolio11 December 2000
Paul Auster has earned himself a good reputation for making films about everyday people. With "Lulu on the bridge" he didn't disappoint me. Leaving the cinema I felt a strange aftermath and wasn't sure whether I really liked watching it. The film continued to haunt me, in a very positive sense, for the next day, and I started to appreciate its qualities: genuine acting, believable characters, and, if you believe in magic (it's everywhere, you just have to look for it), there's a good dose of that, too.

Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, and, of course, Willem Dafoe, carry this film, but let us not forget the supporting cast of Vanessa Redgrave (she's always wonderful!), Mandy Patinkin, and Gina Gershon.

A wonderful little gem of a film. Not just for Paul Auster fans.
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Great little movie, reminiscent of Kieslowski's work
chrome-814 July 2000
I rented this movie on a whim because I like Harvey Keitel and Willem Defoe...I found it somewhat reminiscent of Kieslowski's Colors trilogy, or The Double Life of Veronique, and fans of these movies will definitely like this one. The movie's ending (which I won't give away) turns what you think is an interesting set of plot twists into a dreamy, allegorical tale that stays with you for a while. All in all, an excellent movie.
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Change in Feelings
Ephraim Lindquist7 July 2000
At first I didn't really like the movie, however it's one of those movies that you keep thinking about long after you have seen it. I couldn't get it out of my mind and kept having flash backs to the bedroom conversation and the rock episode. Then I finally watched it again and it all made sense. I did a complete 180, and now it is one of my favorite movies.
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thank you, Paul Auster
$thing27 April 2000
Reading the negative comments to this movie is the most baffling experience: those who hate it seem to take action flicks as comparisons, talking about holes in the plot or whatever else that is pointless, failing to understand that this movie comes closer to poetry than most. Needless to say, the script is superb and Paul Auster shows to be a modern master of the literary genre, excelling as much on the screen as he does on paper (the scenes with Dafoe and Keitel are stunning, Dafoe telling the firefly story is memorable): this movie is all about reality and exactly because it feels so real it couldn't care less about realism. I watched Lulu with an open heart and it was all clear to me, all the words made perfect sense. But criticizing this Paul Auster gem because of your typical, run-of-the-mill Hollywood expectations is nothing but a crime.
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a stone is not enough...
jahjag27 March 2008
Warning: Spoilers
...even if it's mystic. if you always have to find a moral or a message in a movie, you may find this one in here. but this not what makes this movie fantastic. for me this is the quiet tone, the realistic unrealistic (dream)world, the metaphors, the profound humor and the actors. the cast of character is great: Harvey Keitel, Mira Sorvino, Gina Gershon, Sophie Auster, Vanessa Redgrave, Willem Dafoe & Lou Reed (as not Lou reed;). exspecially Harvey keitel & Mira Sorvino are 'extraordinary' good. the movie refers to Frank Wedekinds drama 'Die Büchse der Pandora' which the man from Izzy's ex wife wants to film new with the title: lulu on the bridge. as auster names his movie the same way, you can hint that he indirectly refers to that drama to. but you can enjoy the film without knowing the drama. like any other stuff from auster the movie works on more than one level. there's the dream that pretends to be reality - by the way: there's no reality in movies, it's always fiction, even if it pretends to be realistic or/and authentic. auster is playing with this 'knowledge'. so the unrealistic breaks into realty, to show you: hey, this is fiction, enjoy it. besides that the movie of course tells a story about the L word, bittersweet. i don't think that the plot is confusing, in my opinion it is quiet simple, if you learn from auster to watch behind the things and see the obviously hidden.

the plot (SPOILER!) - of course simplified:

jazz musician Izzy gets shot on a concert. as the result of this he can no longer play his instrument, his career is over. he's hiding in his flat, not answering the phone. so his ex wife, that don't love him anymore, but still cares about him, shows up, to bring him back to life. after spending a evening dinner with her new family, on his way home, he finds a dead man in a back street. he takes the bag that lies beneath the man. there he finds two things, a phone number and a weird stone. in the night the stone is glowing blue (a naughty little beggar who things of austers earlier movies smoke/blue in the face;). next day he calls the number he had found. it belongs to Celia, a fan of Izzy's music. she invites him to her apartment. when he arrives there, Izzy gets very angry & wants an explanation from her about the stone. of course she has none. then they both touch the stone and feeling better after wards (mhm...what the stone might be standing for?). so the story goes, they fall in love. Celia wants to be an actress, but is not very successful yet. she tells him about an upcoming audition she's going to have for a movie: lulu on the bridge (see above). as Izzy knows the producer & the director, he helps her to get the job. Celia leaves to Ireland, where the movie is shot. Izzy wants to sell his flat & then follow her to Ireland. but before that happens, he get caught by some evil looking men, that want the mystique stone (surprise, surprise). they lock Izzy into an empty hall & and a guy named Dr. Van Horn (the names of the characters are awesome chosen) question him about his life (so we learn more about Izzy's past & what a man he has been). the doctor knows more about Izzy than Izzy himself, even things that Izzy pretend to forget (so we see that this is not reality, but a dream). in the meantime Celia is very upset, because she don't know what had happened to Izzy. she things he might not love her any more. then one night she throws the stone into a river (...maybe because a stone is not enough to remember a beloved person...even if it's mystic - the stone & the person). later on the evil men finally found out about Celia & chasing her to the bridge where she has thrown the stone into the river, now she's throwing herself after... not the end.

if you think this is a sad story, don't forget, it's just a movie, it never really happened. and if that makes you sad, you may watch a funny movie to cheer you up or better, simply fall in love. or you can search for weird looking stones. and if anybody you like asks you: what's that? you can answer: a blue glowing stone. and if the person then asks: what can it do? you can say: glowing blue of course. and we can touch it & feeling much better after wards... you may have recognized, I like the movie, so watch it, if you get the chance!
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I love this movie
Manni-be21 July 2005
I saw that movie in 1998 and since I can't get it out of my mind. The story is complete, you don't have the feeling to be puzzled as in Lynch's movies and that you're missing the biggest part.

This movie had a weird effect on me, some weeks ago (seven years after having seen it), I needed to begin playing saxophone and some days after, a story about a stone such as the one in the movie obsessed me, I'm going to write a novel based on it.

I don't really know why but this movie, and only this movie, changed my life.

The actress is so beautiful she'll hardly come out of my head too, and I find Harvey Keitel very good in this movie, he fits his role perfectly.
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Leszek510 February 2004
It is unique opportunity to see good American movie. For thinking, not brainless people. I haven't seen for a long time an american movie I wouln't be able to guess the ending. This one really surprised me. I see two parralels to other artists.

My first impression - this film has a lot of Krzysztof Kieslowski spirit. I can see the same sadness of loneliness in Mira Sorvino's eyes as in Irene Jacob eyes in "Double life of Veronique". LULU tells the same story - how lonely we are on this planet.

Second impression - the movie is similar to "The Sixth Sense" in matter of post mortem life. It's hard to guess what is real, and what is imagination.

Great movie for thinking people. Very positive surprise. And Lou Reed as "not Lou Reed" - great joke.
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Do not watch, it is bad bad bad.
rehaufler1 June 2002
Bad bad movie. Idiotic, adolescent dialog, stupid story, ridiculously sappy, unbelievable. A frightening and sad waste of marvelous acting talent. It is very difficult to make the connection between this and the wonderful "smoke" movies: ("Blue in the face" and "Smoke"). Only for that connection did I watch this waste of time. This may be the all time worst movie I have seen. It is worse than "The Deep End". By the time I got to the plot twist at the end, I could not care at all about any of the characters, I was just glad this horror had ended.
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Paul Auster directs
jotix1007 November 2005
Some authors, as is the case with Paul Auster, can involve a reader with a novel. Mr. Auster, with a few exceptions, has produced a body of work that will be his legacy. Alas, this is not going to be the case of his directorial career. Like Julian Schnabel, a painter turned film director, Paul Auster seems to be a logical candidate for bringing his stories to the screen, but as proved by this effort, one hopes he keeps his day time job.

The large, talented cast of "Lulu on the Bridge" can't overcome some of the problems the film presents. The mixture of a thriller with esoterica sounds like an intriguing idea for a film, but as one witness the movie unfolds it's clear these elements don't mix well together under the director's guidance with the screen play he wrote. The film has moments in which it transcends and shows a promise of working, but in the end, it's too contrived for its own good.

Even an intense performer like Harvey Keitel is bogged down by a character that doesn't awake much interest in the viewer. Mira Sorvino is, in our humble opinion, terribly miscast. There is no chemistry between the two main characters. William Dafoe, Victor Argo, Vanessa Redgrave, Lou Reed, Gina Gershon are seen in minor roles.
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It's been done before...
Constant-Reader7 April 2001
In a brilliant film called Jacob's Ladder. Paul Auster is a fine novelist but to ride on the coat-tails of JL seems to be beneath him. Some novels should just never be made into a movie. This one is one of them.
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