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|Index||11 reviews in total|
I saw a preview for this film in Paris in the presence of both the director (Olivier Dahan, who is French) and Forest Whitaker. The director described it as simple and happy while Forest mentioned magic. They were both right. The film was beautiful. The whole room seemed completely taken in. Renee Zellweger was great and managed to make a number of the audience cry in her role as an ex-singer confined to a wheel chair. Forest Whitaker was fantastic as was Madeline Zima who I had not seen much previously and was very impressed by. The story was simple but moving and the pictures magical. There are a couple of brilliant characters that they meet on their travels too who lighten up what could have been a rather intense movie. I definitely recommend this film.
I guess I saw a whole 'nother movie than the other reviewers, because I
simply loved this film. Not that the comments and crits were
wrong...sentimental, somewhat disjointed...but I found it moving and
amusing and truly enjoyed the soundtrack. The small roles were perfect
and the marshmallow whip on top was Zelweiger's riveting rendition of
Guthrie's "This Land is Your Land"...unlike any other I'd ever
heard...AND she sang my absolute favorite verse (the one about the No
Trespassing sign..."but on the other side it didn't say nothing', that
side was made for you and me").
It reminded me quite a bit of "Leaving Normal", another fave of mine...
Don't let these nay-sayers put you off this gem.
I saw this via Netflix streaming video. Written and edited by the
Frenchman who directed the superb "Edith Piaf" story (La Mome') it is
set in the USA, filmed in various parts of Louisiana, and ends up in
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.
This movie is part of the "nouvelle vague" in cinema, a more evolved
and profound cinema, with deep undergrounds of humanity and courage,
with tranquility of sharing and understanding. The analogy with the
Wizard of Oz is obvious, since that is where this movie got its roots:
three people experiencing different kinds of losses, two of them from
Kansas, on a trip to discover the answers they long for - answers they
will eventually find in themselves.
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!
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
I think that this movie is what movies are supposed to be. The journey that the 2 main characters embark on is not only a physical journey but also an emotionally and psychologically healing journey. Both characters have lost more than they can bear and they help each other to recognize that life goes on. Jane learns that she can be emotionally engaged in life - that even though she has lost so much there are still elements in her life that can be reclaimed if she is willing to feel again. Joey has experience loss so great that it has shifted him psychologically and he comes to realize that he needs to express only those things that he can share with others in their realities while keeping his unique reality for his benefit only. The characters they meet along the way all add to their journey of healing. The healing that occurs is subtle and inferred by the thinking person. I view this movie as a masterpiece to be enjoyed by those who are not dependent on typical cookie-cutter tactics.
Writer and director Olivier Dahan may have had sincere intentions behind making 'My Own Love Song' but the problem with the film is that it does not have much to offer in terms of novelty and it relies on several clichés. With the exception of Zellweger's Jane, the characters are either clichés or one-dimensional. Moreover, the film is overly sentimental at times. While I enjoy road movies very much, 'My Own Love Song' does capture the beauty of the American landscape. The camera-work is very good. I enjoyed the animated bird sequence but otherwise it was completely out of place. Renee Zellwegger does an excellent job in portraying Jane Wyatt, a wheelchair-ridden former rockstar who's estranged from her son. In addition, Zellweger proves once again that she can sing beautifully. Forest Whitaker tries the best he could with a poorly written Joey but the actor is unable to do anything new with this character. Yet, I enjoyed most of his scenes with Zellweger. Madeline Zima's Bilie lacks development. Nick Nolte stands out in a small role. Overall, 'My Own Love Song' isn't a bad watch by any means, it just doesn't have anything new to offer.
You've read the story in these critiques. It's a road movie about a small group of damaged characters in search of some undefined salvation in the form of a huckster who claims that angels exist. The Forrest Whitaker character, Joey, bothered me the most. The slow-witted crazy man with a heart of gold, who takes care of the paraplegic singer played by Renee Zellweger. The character is a movie cliché, straight out of Of Mice And Men, and Whitaker didn't bring anything new to it. Is he schizophrenic and off his meds? Is he bipolar and off his meds? Whatever, he only shows up in movies, not in real life. At one point, late in the story, there is a diversion into the "legend" of Robert Johnson losing his soul at the Crossroads in exchange for a supernatural ability on the guitar. Then: on to something else. It goes nowhere. What was the point? Is our little band of characters somehow like Robert Johnson? Apparently not, because the next sequence is a high-speed car chase down highway 61. There were some nice moments, but they were poorly strung together.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
Simply put...this movie is one of the BEST we've seen in a very long time. I completely disagree with the negative previous reviews, perhaps these folks haven't had to live lives with a handicapped child, which certainly can help one to focus on the truly healthy aspects of this movie. Gently told, it was well worth watching, and if my handicapped child could comprehend? I'd have let him watch it...Not only was the acting excellent, considering the difficult nature of this movie, but we believe that the manner of producing reality was right on. For those who perhaps don't have a handicapped child? I recommend that you find a nursing home where these children are most often housed, and visit. Bring your heart on your sleeve, keep it close. We are unsure IF his mother was reunited with him on a permanent basis, but hope she was.
French director Dahan's first film set in post-Katrina Louisiiana and
shot in English is a rambling, overly sentimental road picture about
two damaged individuals who go on a quest. Zellwegger's paralyzed from
a car accident seven years ago, when she met Whitaker in the hospital.
He was there for mental problems. He still thinks he hears the voices
of angels. They go off in an old Seventies car (which is later stolen)
to see the author of a bestselling books on angels, and Whittiker's
character wants to take Zellwegger to the birthday party of her little
boy, who was adopted by a rich family when her injuries and poverty
made her unable to raise him.
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.
This film is about a wheelchair bound singer and a man with psychiatric
problems who embark on a road trip to escape from their broken dreams
in their hometown.
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.
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