Theatrical Review: NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU

James Wallace

by: James Wallace
October 16th, 2009


Rating: 6/10

Writers: Emmanuel Benbihy (concept), Tristan Carné (premise)
Directors: Fatih Akin, Yvan Attal, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman , Brett Ratner
Cast: For a full cast listing, see the IMDb page HERE
Studio: Vivendi Entertainment

New York is a place where dreams come true. It is a magical city, like someplace out of a fairy tale, with the towers of castles replaced with towering skyscrapers. And just as in fairy tales, it is a place where love is born and flourishes. How do you capture that wonder and that feeling of a city like New York? Better yet, how do you capture the wonder and the feeling of love?

It is a task too heavy for one director, one writer, and one minor cast. Thus, a film like NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU is born. It is an experiment in filmmaking and, more so, story-telling. What the product is, is a compilation of stories by 10 well-known directors, from over 20 writers, featuring too many notable actors to name or count off. What it works to achieve is exploring not just the city of New York, but love in its many forms with the city as a framework.

Take it for what you will...NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU says everything while saying nothing in its attempts. It is there for you to interpret. And, as its loosely connected stories suggest, we are all connected and everything is meaningful, while at the same time being completely unconnected and meaningless. It is as existential as you can get...or not.

Confused? You're really not meant to be. The film presents itself in a way that allows you to take from it what you will. Going in, I would not overthink it. Just take it in as it presents itself. Some of the segments are heavy on meaning and hand deliver their message in a nice package. Such is Brett Ratner's humorous tale of youth, sex, and acceptance (staring James Cann, Anton Yelchin, and Olivia Thirlby).

While other segments are there just to leave you pondering your own past experiences, able to reflect and derive whatever conclusion from it that you will. Such is the case with Jiang Wen's segment (starring Hayden Christensen, Andy Garcia, and Rachel Bilson) or Natalie Portman's (written, directed by, and starring herself).

Then, of course, there are the segments there that make you laugh, reminding you of the people you may encounter on a street corner in New York, like Yvan Attal's segment (starring Ethan Hawke and Maggie Q). These people may be life-changing, in your life for a season or unforgettable in the next moment. Whatever the case may be, it is a city of relationships, no matter how big or small.

And then of course, there are segments that leave you, not pondering the meaning of life, but pondering the meaning of the segment itself and why it was even included. Such is Shekhar Kapur's tale of a ghostly crippled bellboy (Shia LaBeouf) who pays a visit to an elderly woman (Julie Christie) in her hotel, only to find he was not there at all, and in his place is another, much older bellboy (John Hurt). If this does not sound like it fits or makes sense within the confines of NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, that is probably because it does not. As a side note, this is the segment that Anthony Minghella wrote and was set to direct before his untimely passing.

In the end, NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU works in what it sets out to achieve. To tell stories that likely happen every day in city like New York. Stories of love, hurt, family, and friendship. To explore the emotion at its most clear, as well as its most perplexing. As John Lennon once said about New York, "It’s the greatest place on earth...I’ve got a lot of friends here." It is a film like NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU that tries hard, achieving in some ways and failing in others, to capture that sentiment.


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  • yis

    well just like Paris, je t'aime, there was good stories and some where lame to me, but i liked the big picture.

  • ipod tasche

    Thanks for this review.It is looking good drama to see only one time.Having many different stories and views needs proper editing and scripting.Hope it delivers some good for me.

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  • KateErbland

    There were definitely a few that fell flat and a few that were great. Of note, I thought the dialogue in the Hawke / Q segment was great, very snappy. I thought the Cooper / de Matteo plot was super sexy, and I loved the Bloom / Ricci pairing.

  • allisonloring

    I hate to agree being such a Shia fan, but his plot was a bit random and didn't quite make sense on its own, or within this film. Now I'm just hoping I can become the Camille to my own David in my “every day” life of publishing, composers and productions. ;)

  • allisonloring

    I hate to agree being such a Shia fan, but his plot was a bit random and didn't quite make sense on its own, or within this film. Now I'm just hoping I can become the Camille to my own David in my “every day” life of publishing, composers and productions. ;)

  • Wilhemina Vitantonio

    Thanks for sharing this informative article with us :)

  • conveyancing

    Thanks for writing this article. I was wondering what I’d do with my 3-dimensional device

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