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For 16 years Miss Bentley has been spending April at an elegant hillside villa on Lake Como. This year, 1937, her London society artist father has recently died and the only other ... See full summary »
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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
There are many lines like the one above in this film. Ethan Hawke in his first work as a director has tried to capture the feeling of these modern beatniks who reside in the Chelsea Hotel in NYC and have chosen for themselves a way of life that is different than the kind of life our society would consider successful. These people aren't even artists, they're just artist wannabes. A little boy says it very clearly "It's hard to say who really is a poet these days". What makes them interesting and what they have in common is that they can't stand the modern world, their perspective on life and the belief that happiness is in simple things. There are several moments in this film that make that so clear. One of them is when Val tells Audrey (played brilliantly by Rosario Dawson) "We only have 43 dollars" and her answer is "We're just living Val. Lots of people do that.". While I was watching this film I was thinking of something I had heard in Charlie Kauffman's 'Adaptation'. "In real life nothing really happens" and I think that's exactly what Ethan Hawke's purpose is, to show us the life of some not so ordinary people who however have feelings and ordinary problems. Ethan Hawke has a wonderful script in his hands, but he fails to deliver and that's the most diappointing thing about this film. But other than that this film has so many beautiful poetic moments that it's worth watching. I understand though that if you never dreamed of this kind of life, if everything that you think matters is to make money in order to afford the comforts of modern life then this film will never appeal to you.
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