My Blueberry Nights (2007) is a quirky little film about finding love. As Dorothy says in Oz, ‘If I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own back yard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with!’
I was unfamiliar with director Kar Wai Wong prior to seeing this movie. Online reviews I read don’t do it justice: yes, the theme is a common one, and just because the character is independent does not mean she is like Amélie. I found Norah Jones’ and Jude Law’s characters substantial, but the two performances I found most wrenching were those of Natalie Portman and Rachel Weisz, playing two women who have lost love, or perhaps never really had it to begin with. Both are the victims of problems of the men in their lives: the former’s father is a serious gambler and the latter’s ex-husband is an alcoholic police officer. Both lose these relationships without resolving their sense of rejection.
However, Wong’s stylistic treatment of the film leaves it with an airy, sweet feel; perhaps the intro song by Jones helps to set up the tone. Either way, the tougher themes don’t dampen my take-away, namely that journeys of self-discovery need not be exercises in existentialist torture, but that all of the people and events that shape us are significant, even if the lessons learned are negative. An open mind will convert and shape such lessons into a wiser and kinder heart.