New York, I Love You | Various directors, 2009
Although there were anthology films before Paris, je t’aime, I found the concept of making a movie about love stories centered around a city, directed by many talented individuals, to be rather refreshing and interesting.In the end, as expected, not all shorts turned out to be good, but the product as a whole was satisfying. In fact, some of the short I still remember clearly to this day. This is what made me greatly anticipate New York, I Love You, which is from the same producer and is supposed to be part of a series. However, it did not quite live up to my expectations.
Like Paris, New York is made up of many short films by many talented individuals (and Brett Ratner) that focus on love stories around the city. My favorite short of them all, was the last one directed by Joshua Marston and starring Cloris Leachman and Eli Wallach as an old married couple celebrating their anniversary. The performances in it are so great, and the dialogue is so engaging that I could not help but love it. Others I loved were the one directed by Shekhar Kapur and starring Julie Christie, Shia LaBeouf, and William Hurt about a former opera singer who may be planning to kill herself; the one by Brett Ratner with Anton Yelchin, Olivia Thrilby, Blake Lively, and James Caan about a boy who is dumped on the day of the prom and a pharmacist who offers his daughter to go with him (aesthetically it is an eye-sore, but the story is cute); and Yvann Attal’s starring Chris Cooper and Robin Wright-Penn as people chatting outside a restaurant.
The thing about these shorts that I liked is that not one of them can compare to the ones I liked the most in Paris, je t’aime. This is because all of these were way too grounded on reality and were visually creative. In Paris, there was the short about the vampire, the one about the mimes, and the one directed by the Coens that were creative in terms of story telling and visually. The only one in New York that stood out visually was Shekhar Kapur’s. Plus, my favorite in Paris, Alexander Payne’s one, very much grounded in reality, had way more heart than any of the reality-based shorts.
Another fault that this film had, was that it tried to bring the story together with transitions that involved the character of the shorts. These transitions were either too distracting or brought back some unpleasant memories.
With that said, I had a great time watching this. With very little time for each short, most of the characters were greatly developed (take note Valentine’s Day). Sure, not every short is great, but there is more good than bad here. It is no Paris, je t’aime, but it is well worth a look.