After struggling to find an adjective for “Elizabethtown,” we decided ‘warm-hearted’ was pretty accurate. It isn’t a feel good movie. It’s more of a feel alright movie. The message I got out of it is “life sucks, deal with it.” Granted, some people’s lives suck more than others, but bad things have happened in everyone’s life, and will continue to happen. What makes life worth living are the people who push you to stay alive.
This film is very reminiscent of “Garden State.” A semi-successful young man, very cut off from friends and family, is forced to return to his family’s bosom because of the death of one of his parents. Moreover, a free-spirited chica enters the picture and this stiff-necked fella has to loosen up a bit. It’s a cute, entertaining flic, with colorful side-characters and a mix-tape of a soundtrack that makes the viewer bop in his seat.
In the beginning sequence, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) establishes that he’s “fine.” In fact, he repeats himself over and over. He tells his coworkers, his boss, his family, and even strangers he meets. However, through the film we find out that he may be “fine,” but “fine” isn’t good enough. Drew and Claire (Kirstin Dunst) have a cute montage, spending all night talking on the phone. The film shows very simply how lonely Drew’s life has become; when he connects to someone he has just met easier than he connects with his own family. With little quips, comments, and incidents, the film nudges smiles out of its audience.
However, there are a lot of questions brought up throughout this film which are never explained. It seems that a good deal of scenes in the movie are extraneous, as though too many explanatory scenes were deleted, or not enough. Also, there are details in the film that are unnecessarily grandiose, which detracts from the movie’s theme about relying on kin and down-to-earth ideals.Drew breaks away from his family and down-home roots in order to become a successful shoe designer, only to fail miserably, more so than anyone in the history of the foot apparel industry. An effective and popular theme, used throughout modern and classical films and literature.
However, the extent of his failure, losing his shoe company $972 million dollars, upsets the reality that the film is trying to portray. The film never justifies why Drew needs to lose that much money, or, in fact, why his shoe design was so god awful. The audience’s only clue about his shoes is a huge recalled shipment at the beginning of the movie, but we are never told why the shoes are recalled. Are they filled with nails? Did people find out they were made of whale skin? Is it because they are really ugly shoes? Why?!
Despite the inspiring, “warm-hearted” tone of the movie, these unanswered questions leave the audience a little confused and put-out. Why did she tell him that, or why mention that character’s back story if you’re not going to do anything with it. The movie could have used a little tightening of plot and characters, which would have made it less lengthy even. However, the feeling of fulfillment the characters have spills over enough into the audience that we forgive the inconsistencies and needless red herrings. It’s worth watching.