New York, I Love YouOctober 16, 2009
An anthology film joining several love stories set in one of the most loved cities of the world, New York.
Release Year: 2009
Rating: 6.4/10 (21,075 voted)
Critic's Score: 49/100
Stars: Shia LaBeouf, Natalie Portman, Bradley Cooper
Ten vignettes in New York City: a pickpocket meets his match; a young Hasidic woman, on the eve of her marriage, reveals herself to an Indian businessman; a writer tries a pick-up line; an artist seeks a model; a composer needs to read; two women connect; a man takes a child to Central Park; lovers meet; a couple takes a walk on their anniversary; a kid goes to the prom with a girl in a wheelchair; a retired singer contemplates suicide. There are eight million stories in the naked city: these have been ten of them.
Writers: Hu Hong, Yao Meng
Gus (segment "Allen Hughes")
Justin, Sarah's Boyfriend (transitions 'Randy Balsmeyer')
Garry (segment "Wen Jiang")
Ben (segment "Wen Jiang")
Molly (segment "Wen Jiang")
Rifka (segment "Mira Nair)
Mansukhbhai (segment "Mira Nair)
Zoe, the Video Artist (transitions 'Randy Balsmeyer')
David (segment "Shunji Iwai")
Camille (segment "Shunji Iwai")
Call Girl (segment "Yvan Attal")
Writer (segment "Yvan Attal")
Boy in the Park (segment "Brett Ratner")
Mr. Riccoli , the Pharmacist (segment "Brett Ratner")
Actress (segment "Brett Ratner")
every moment another story begins
Release Date: 16 October 2009
Filming Locations: New York City, New York, USA
Box Office Details
Opening Weekend: $380,776
(18 October 2009)
(20 December 2009)
Did You Know?
Shot over a period of 36 days.
When the painter was drawing the Chinese woman using soy sauce, he dripped a few drops on her face, but in the next scene, in his studio, the soy sauce drips are gone.
Hey, David, it's Camille. You know, when Dostoevsky was writing The Gambler, he signed a contract with his publisher saying that he would finish it in twenty-six days, and he did it, but he had the help of this young stenographer. This girl, she… she stayed with him and she helped him. And…
The movie was fine to sit through.
(I'll indicate in this review the point where spoilers begin.) My
dissatisfaction is split: 30% tone-deafness, 70% lackluster writing.
The 30%: I agree with the first commenter's synopsis about the lack of
diversity in the characters and scope of the stories. I was surprised
how, this film, at best, woefully shortchanges the real NYC by
presenting a collection of people and relationships so narrow as to
come across as if it's inhabited only by the cast of Gossip Girl (this
is coming from someone who likes Gossip Girl). A few minority
characters are written into the stories, but they are included by
obligation, while we can see the gears under the film so clearly,
striving to "be diverse" but falling ever-so-short.
The 70% is why everything falls short. All characters, white plus a few
token minorities, are one-dimensional, cardboard cutouts of people
concepts. Worse, their interactions with each other are scripted in
such a way that for each vignette in the film the audience is treated
to what I'd say is a "gag": we get a basic conceit, then some punchline
intended to be a clever twist. But even if we suspended cynicism for a
moment to say, "Okay, that was a surprise"…the stories are still not
that interesting, because they, too, are shallow. When you fashion
stories so that their existence hinges solely on the unexpectedness of
the ending, you're writing jokes.
The movie primarily tries to tell romantic stories. That's fine. But
romance is amazing, deep, sometimes complex. These "romantic" stories
each feature a girl and a boy who at some point share the same location
and get to look at each other. Words exchange, thoughts are projected
through voice-over, but they too only manage to communicate to the
audience merely that one person is attracted to another.
Meaning, there is no seduction (in the broad sense), no tension, and
neither confrontation nor communion between the wills of two different
people trying to reconcile their existence to accommodate the Other.
The only story involving a superficial "seduction" is told just so the
audience ends up being surprised that the guy (Ethan Hawke) gets
outwitted by the girl he's hitting on, who unexpectedly turns out to be
a hooker. Sure, his words when trying to pick her up are interesting to
hear and we are amused as we'd be if we were next to them, but there is
nothing of substance to this story outside of "A then B". So it
unfolds, if something like a postcard could "unfold", with all the
other tales as well: A then B–That's It, the only point being that
these happen to occur "on set" in Manhattan. By the way, the only
Brooklyn we see is the Coney Island sketch; the only Queens is the
flickering of a train ride taken by a character traveling to the West
It's easy to pick at movies that play into all the common stereotypes
of race, gender, sexual orientation, and so on. _New York, I Love You_,
however, deserves to be held to stricter scrutiny because of its title.
We expect to see the real New York, and real New Yorkers, but instead
we have paraded before us the selected slice of a demographic, its
characters flown in from The O.C., plus a few others to make it SEEM as
if we are paying attention to diversity. But when we look closer at who
those characters are, the whole sham becomes an affront to the very
notion of diversity and the ethnicities and cultures the movie
shamefully fails to represent.
For example, the story with the Latino man with the little white girl
in the park, who gets mistaken by two ladies as her manny (male nanny)
when in fact he's the father. Notwithstanding the last scene of this
part was unnecessary from a dramatic-construction point of view (it
would have been far more interesting to end it when the mother and
boyfriend/stepfather are strutting the girl away), it is frankly a bit
disgusting that the scene where we learn for sure that the girl's
father is Latino ALSO must inform us that he is a sexually desirable
dancer. What, the dad can't be just some guy from South America? Now
that he's obviously hot, is the audience better prepared to accept that
he had a kid with a middle-to-upper-class white woman? Are we that
naive as to require such? As if a Mexican construction worker would
obviously be too unpalatable.
It's not my place to dictate where the movie should have gone. But in
every conceivable set-up and plot twist, the direction taken screams
status quo, appeals to safety. All these stories could have been made
more interesting, even if we were forced to keep the
single-dimensionality of the characters inhabiting them, at the very
least by not choosing from standard and obvious stereotypes. Asian girl
living in Chinatown being leered at by a scraggly old white guy? How
'bout an Asian cougar pursuing a white college kid instead. Again, I'm
not saying the entire conceit has to be changed. It's just that every.
damn. story premise. is so hackneyed–and thus they fail to convey
anything about why one might love New York, outside the trite. The real
way to have improved the film would be to have written a script worth
I will concede the pleasantness of the soundtrack, the good pacing of
the movie (even if what was being paced was, well, dredge), and the
general feel of many of the scenes. The movie was just fine to sit
through, and I wouldn't dissuade anyone from doing so. However, it is
telling that the most significant homage paid to non-superficiality is
when the old opera singer says (paraphrased) "That's what I love about
New York: everyone's from a different place." Well, you wouldn't know
it from watching this one.