In New York's storied Chelsea Hotel, a novelist, a dancer, a painter, a poet, an aged jazz singer, and a young troubadour sort out their personal and artistic lives within walls haunted by the likes of Dylan Thomas, O. Henry, and Sarah Bernhardt. A boozy novelist balances wife, mistress, and stories. A dancer who's a waitress in the basement club chooses between a Hollywood jerk and a local painter. A youth from Minnesota who composes and sings may be the next Bob Dylan. A poet decides to give her feckless boyfriend another chance, even as her eyes tell us she knows what's ahead. An old jazz artist wants to place a bet and share his love for Lady Day. These walls do seem to talk. Written by
You're Bob Dylan? By any chance can I kiss your boot?
Hey! You're from Minnesota, aren't ya? You must be him! Huh?
Seriously dude, fuck off.
Bob! Bob! Bob! Bob! Hey, listen to this, you're not going to believe this, man. I am down in the lobby, right? Right?
There's this guy, puttin' up a paintin'. So, I'm like, helpin' 'em with the ladder and shit. He tells me, he lives here, in a room just like this one... but he's got it all for free. Yup, all he's gotta do is give a paintin'...
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I thought this film was extremely well crafted, with some outstanding performances - never overplayed or played for sensationalistic effect. Kris Kristoferson was a revelation - a very fine actor here, but everyone contributed to the realism and complexity of the stories. Loved the use of music coming through the walls - a good movie to watch late at night with no distractions and a glass of whisky.
If you're looking for a fast moving, action film you've come to the wrong place, but if you like convincing dialogue, good acting and an authentic sense of place you might enjoy this one. Ethan Hawke is clearly a talented director.
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