Two women embark on a road trip after they are brought together by circumstance. Rebecca (Portman) flees her hotel after a fight with her mother-in-law (Maura) and hails a taxi driven by Hanna (Lazlo).
Eleven vignettes, all homages to New York City life, are presented. I. Ben (Hayden Christensen), a pickpocket, is attracted to Molly (Rachel Bilson) at first sight, and gets into an interesting "pissing match" with Molly's married lover, New York University professor Garry (Andy Garcia). II. Mansuhkhbai (Irrfan Khan), an orthodox Jain diamond wholesaler, and Rifka (Natalie Portman), an orthodox Jewish diamond retailer who is getting married tomorrow, learn that they have more in common than just diamonds. III. David (Orlando Bloom), a musician and music editor for a video being directed by Abarra, is having problems meeting Abarra's demands while he slowly falls for Abarra's assistant, Camille (Christina Ricci), who he's never met, but has only talked to on the telephone solely about work. IV. A young man believes he's made a powerful connection to a stranger, a young woman, in the simple act of lighting her cigarette, and proceeds to convince her of the same and as such that there is...Written by
Natalie Portman's character, while discussing the rules of kosher, states she cannot eat "nothing that's not blessed by a rabbi." This is a common error - the production of kosher food is overseen by a rabbi, but the final products are not blessed. See more »
[after lighting her cigarette]
We share a flame, thousands of tiny molecules are heating up right now, they're penetrating our brain. Alright, they're stimulating our sexual desire. I mean, I don't know about you, but I find that shit very romantic. And you know, I'm so glad you walked over here because now I can feel a little bit more comfortable to tell you that I happen to be on the forefront of men able to find and locate a woman's G-spot, and I could - I could do that for you.
[...] See more »
When the title was shown at Toronto Film Festival it included two additional segments These Vagabond Shoes and Apocrypha, these were removed for the wide release but are included in the DVD extras. See more »
Good movie for people who like movies where nothing happens
Although my title might sound like a jab, I mean it literally. If you like movies where nothing happens, "New York, I Love You" is a good one to catch.
So if nothing happens, what's it all about? Well, here we have 10 slice-of-life vignettes of people living in New York City focusing on interpersonal relationships, character drama, and in almost every story some sort of quirky ironic twist.
In a few cases the ironic twist is enough to make you say to yourself, "Aha! Good one." Segments in this category include a segment starring Robin Wright & Chris Cooper about a woman & man who meet on the street flirting with the idea of anonymous sex, or in the segment starring Olivia Thirlby, James Caan & Anton Yelchin about a boy who goes to the prom with a girl in a wheelchair, or the opening segment starring Hayden Christensen & Andy Garcia about a petty thief who meets his match. Or an impressive directing debut from Natalie Portman about a man who takes a young girl to the park for a day. Each of these may seem light on story, but there's a nice twist to each.
Other segments are a little less twisty in plot, but they make up for it with charming characters or quirky conversations, like the segment with Ethan Hawke using every line in the book to pick up a mysterious woman, or the segment starring the screen legends Eli Wallach ("The Good, the Bad and the Ugly") & Cloris Leechman ("Frau Blucher!" in Young Frankenstein) about an elderly couple who go to Coney Island for the day.
And then there's the segment starring Julie Christie as a lonely, retired opera singer who checks into an ancient hotel for a night. That segment stands out for its haunting style and quiet desperation.
"New York, I Love You" is the American version of "Paris je t'aime" released two years earlier, each film featuring a series of shorts highlighting the human love affair with an iconic city. Oddly enough, "New York" features all but 2 directors who were born outside America (including Natalie Portman--did you know she was born in Israel?), so there is a very culturally diverse vibe. This ain't no "Friends" centered around young professional caucasians. It often digs deep into the ethnic perspective with characters who are Jewish (Hacidic), Hindu (Jain...although he points out that Jains are not Hindu because Hinduism is too materialistic haha), Chinese, Iranian, British, and a few I couldn't figure out.
My only real gripe with this film is that it seemed uneven at times, with the directing styles and stories often shifting gears so abruptly, and without any signals to let you know the prior story had ended and we're on to the next, that you can easily get disoriented. Transitions with characters' paths criss-crossing were inserted to make it more of a cohesive whole, but I think the opposite effect happened. I might've liked it better if the stories were kept very separate, like in the excellent "Tokyo!" featuring 3 very different stories from very different directors. But as far as short film compilations go, "New York, I Love You" is a good solid package that should tickle your nostalgia bone whether or not you hail from the Big Apple.
I can't end without mentioning my favorite film in this genre, "Coffee & Cigarettes" by Jim Jarmusch, featuring 11 short films set in Coffee Shops around the world. If you like this sort of thing, definitely check that one out.
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