My Blueberry Nights: Wong Kar Wai


Wong Kar Wai‘s My Blueberry Nights is a strange film. Some thirty minutes into it, there’s a scene in which Jude Law’s character kisses the sleeping Norah Jones; and they barely know each other. Whether or not you’ll fall in love with this film depends on how you react to that one scene. You could either think it’s immensely beautiful or incredibly creepy, like I did.

WKW’s films are filled with strife and agony that aggravate the already existing emotional and sexual tension between characters. He makes them go through terrible bouts of loneliness before giving them a reprieve. The emotions are underplayed; what really does the trick in a WKW film is the visual style. He’s probably the only director who can make neon lights, blurs and bright colors look sensual and intimate as opposed to well…sleazy.

My Blueberry Nights follows Elizabeth (Norah Jones) as she takes a road trip of sorts whilst trying to come to terms with a recent heartbreak. Along the way, she meets the proverbial clown car of characters, each of them struggling through life themselves- a troubled couple (played by David Straithairn and Rachel Weisz) and a compulsive gambler (Natalie Portman). You know she’s supposed to learn something along the way, but you can never be sure of what Wai really wants to say. Elizabeth shares an ambiguously defined connection with Jeremy but still goes a long way before she realizes truths that only characters in films do. My Blueberry Nights has a very weak screenplay; one that’s not quite sure of what it wants to tell. The character arcs are ill conceived and you never really get a satisfying resolution. I have to agree with the critics who say WKW’s vision got lost in translation somewhere; it’s pretty obvious he was never comfortable with the language or the nuances involved.

However, the film is perhaps the most beautifully shot film you’ll come across this year and has one of the most amazing kisses ever filmed. If nothing, this film will be remembered for that one (creepy yet beautiful) kiss. At the end of the day, My Blueberry Nights is a disappointment for WKW fans; a beautiful disappointment.


PS: See how I didn’t go overboard with Natalie Portman this time?


12 Responses to “My Blueberry Nights: Wong Kar Wai”

  1. Nice review. I am not going to click the kiss link until I actually watch the movie – I have a feeling my reaction will be different.

    p.s. LOL @ Natalie Portman – dude, you should never feel the need to justify your obsessions. 🙂

  2. I never had a problem with the first kiss and I’m fine with the screenplay (it was not WKW’s best, though). But the kiss in the end just made me think how uncomfortable that must be. I really couldn’t enjoy, nor even see the beauty involved.

  3. We absolutely adore this film, same to all Wong’s films! That’s the sweetest blueberry kiss!

  4. @BPSK Aren’t you older than me? Shouldn’t you be a bit more cynical? 🙂

    By the way, it isn’t an obsession…it’s unrequited love, wokay? 😀

    @kalafudra You know I watched Chunking Express again last evening…and it hit me as to how so many scenes from MBN werere inspired by WKW’s earlier films. Like Baphomet said, it feels more like a best of WKW montage without the structure.

  5. I gave it a lot of thought, after our conversation about this film. and after a second viewing, i concur with a lot of things that you said. This is his weakest film by far. But the problem is that Norah Jones is just not good enough to be the lead. And everyone in the film, except David Strathairn and to a certain extent Jude Law, did not understand what WKW aims for in the films. None of them have that sauve disconnected involvement that Maggie Cheung, or Tony Leung, or Leslie Cheung, or… have been able to portray. Maybe its the language barrier.

    Its a beautiful, and i cannot stress on the beauty enough, failure. And I am pretty happy to say I loved it because of that.

    p.s. there was not much chemistry between Jones and Law. so the kiss dint feel ‘creepy’, it felt kinda ‘icky’ too.

  6. 6 soorajrox

    I get the felling, you intentionally didn’t write about NP this time after reading the last note.

  7. 7 T Kiran Menon

    hmmm… since even Baphomet has turned his back on My Blueberry Nights (well, not quite), it’s going remain on my PC (unwatched) for some time longer…

  8. @T Kiran Menon: You’re making me feel bad now. The worst of Wong Kar Wai is better than the best of most.

  9. 9 T Kiran Menon

    @Baphomet: Don\’t worry dude. I was only pulling your leg. Had already watched it over the weekend.

  10. 10 cendrelin

    y’kno…from the way u try to pretend u no longer care bout NP, its kinda obvious that you’re obsesed, in a really wierd way, and i just realised right now that you’d be a perfect subject to psychoanalyse…in fact.. if i do study, i bet uncle freud will green in his grave….cant wait till u get home!!

  11. 11 cendrelin

    oh and bout the skydiving pics..i just saw them here too..they’re kinda wierd. really wierd.

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