Friday, May 20, 2011

My Own Love Song: Movie Review


Forced empathy that takes us nowhere, slowly.

A road trip drama where lost souls are looking for their lost dreams, or as the title suggests, their own love song. The filmmakers used characters who suffer from opposite inflictions to increase the sense of conflict, sympathy, and drama. Jane (Renée Zellweger) is in a wheelchair and Joey (Forest Whitaker) is schizophrenic. Do you feel sorry for them? You should. 2010

Directed by: Olivier Dahan

Screenplay by: Olivier Dahan

Starring: Renée Zellweger and Forest Whitaker

It’s an awfully long journey to somewhere that we, the characters, nor the filmmakers quite know where it is, and all we have to get us there is two people who learn to become more than they are by each using their own strengths. Sound a little prosaic? Sadly, it is.

Perhaps one of the most frustrating aspects is that “My Own Love Song” is not a truly independent film by new filmmakers trying desperately to break into the industry, nor is it a Hollywood film where they threw in cliché ideas in a desperate attempt to make a dollar. It is by award-winning filmmakers who had access to great actors and original songs by Bob Dylan. Frustrating because it can’t be as easily dismissed as one would assume.

The plot summary, the title, the poster and DVD cover art all suggest that it will be boring. I can’t fault the marketers, it is boring. And that is its ultimate problem. Zellweger is perfect in the role, the messages are all quite respectful, and the idea that this journey is about dreams not about reality could have made it substantial. But “My Own Love Song” doesn’t go anywhere very interesting and it takes too long to get there.

Recommended:

Nowhere Boy (2009) - The journey is just the coming-of-age of John Lennon but it's still interesting and heartfelt.

Crazy Heart (2009) - An unlikely friendship which can provide actual meaning to a lost musician.