My Own Love Song (2010)
User ReviewsAdd a Review
It reminded me quite a bit of "Leaving Normal", another fave of mine...
Don't let these nay-sayers put you off this gem.
The story centers on the story of Renée Zellweger as Jane Wyatt, one time recording artist who, 7 years earlier, had become crippled and wheelchair bound as a result of an automobile accident. So she pretty much put her life on hold.
Seemingly her best friend in the small Kansas town is Forest Whitaker as the somewhat kooky Joey, who has visions of angels. He goes off the deep end occasionally, often uses poor judgment in certain situations, but jokingly calls himself "Jane's body guard." He in fact does help her out at times.
One day Joey finds an unopened letter in Jane's house, it is from her now 10-yr-old son, living in Baton Rouge, inviting her to his communion in July. Joey doesn't tell her about the letter, instead puts it in his pocket and sets about to get Jane to take a road trip, he wants her to see her son.
The road trip does have its share of pitfalls, the first being their car burns up. Literally. At a motel along comes Elias Koteas as Dean, who sells them a car for $500, and it works fine, but the next morning they awake to find it gone. Dean has cheated them.
Then comes young Madeline Zima as Billie, whose young husband just seemed to take off, so she joins them in the road trip.
At one stopping point they need a place to crash, hear music, and go to find Nick Nolte as Caldwell, playing a guitar. He joins in for the road trip.
Describing it in my feeble manner in no way does justice to the movie. It is very different, often touching, and very well acted.
The director does some terrific job, no matter what they say; he takes all kinds of risks, uses unconventional tools up to the point where a less circumspect and more neophyte viewer would lose track, leaning on extraordinary performances from all actors. The characters are simple, yet sophisticated.
For the simple-minded, this movie does not mean much - it's just a road movie with sparkles of unconscious and sentimental movements. Those movements though are instruments of one's true self, as authentic and pathetic and sparkling as any true self is.
Way to go for la nouvelle vague!
The initial twenty minutes are alright, portraying the love hate relationship between the two leads. However, once the angels and the fantasy elements set in, the film becomes chaos. What are those pastel birds doing on the streets? What about those images of angels in the sky? Instead of being innovative, it appears self indulgent and confusing. The pacing is so slow, with too many scenes that are made to look artistic but are so boring. The prime example is the scene when they sit under a tree lit in red. The scene is beautiful to look at but quite a torture to sit through.
The ending has the potential to be very emotional. However, it just does not have that effect. The ending has a heartfelt song, but there is inadequate closure. It is not uplifting or touching enough either. "My Own Love Song" could have been emotional and engaging, but it is a greatly misfired attempt.
On the way they meet a run-down singer (Nick Nolte), something like Jeff Bridges' character in CRAZY HEART except that he only plays the guitar and has sunk so low he can only get gigs at an old hotel and that only if he brings a singer. So he persuades an unwilling Zellweger to come along and perform. There and at her son's birthday Zellwegger gives surprisingly powerful, earnest performances of two songs -- both written by Bob Dylan for this film. The colorful southern atmosphere and the Dylan compositions (which include his own very Tom-Waits-esquire performances on the soundtrack) may be the main reason for watching this otherwise weak effort. It would work better if Whitaker didn't give one of his most mannered performances and if the two principals were not written in as such hopeless losers. Poor critical rating in France: Allociné 1.2 (26). An error of taste, however well-meaning; the director is out of his element. Some will enjoy the music and the settings but this is at best an interesting failure despite the name cast.