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I'm Not There

I'm Not There (2007)

December. 07,2007
| Drama Music

Six actors portray six personas of music legend Bob Dylan in scenes depicting various stages of his life, chronicling his rise from unknown folksinger to international icon and revealing how Dylan constantly reinvented himself.


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Where to start here? I'm Not There is a very daunting, serious, far- fetching, high;y intellectual, brainy and at the same time, painful, awkward, clumsy, weird and sometimes sick movie with elements of great and gross, high and haughty, likable and lecherous, sweet and sick, fine and foolish. It reminded me heavily of Oliver Stone's Nixon, with its spiraling, non-linear, crazy pace, feedback, change of colors, abrupt jumps, foreshadowing, unexpected twists and all the same. Is this movie any good? Yes, it is. The performances of multitude of actors are all spellbinding and breathtaking - Marcus Carl Franklin, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Richard Gere, Heath Ledger, Ben Whishaw,Charlotte Gainsbourg , David Cross, Eugene Brotto, Bruce Greenwood, Julianne Moore, Michelle Williams, Mark Camacho, Benz Antoine , Craig Thomas, Richie Havens, Kim Roberts, Kris Kristofferson, Don Francks, Vito DeFilippo and Susan Glover, Paul Spence - an amazing array of huge talents and powerful bandwagon of artistry. Music is excellent throughout, too - the original Dylan's songs as well as new tracks are just superb. What is also good here - excellent play of allusions to Dylan's life - Newport fest, Judas shout, family problems, The Beatles, drugs, poetry, Tarantula, many other things are thrilling and a real eye- feast for Dylan fans. What is bad? Uneven pace, some mannerisms, some really vapid moments, some unnecessary longer monologues, some utterly silly moments at all - they spoil the party much. But still, even 2 hours are not long here and the movie flows almost (almost) seamlessly. Pity, it was not cut to a closer perfection. But, it is very hard to make a decent biopic. I do recommend this to Dylan buffs, to folk rock fans... the rest? Maybe, not. Todd Haynes has made a great work, but not all are ready to see Dylan played by a woman.

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If you are thinking about seeing this movie I would suggest that you research Dylan first; otherwise you will be lost from the get-go, like I was.You need to know that the characters all represent different aspects of Dylan, and that even though they are "Dylan" they have different names. Some of the Dylan aspects are personified as a young black boy using the name Woody Guthrie, a woman, and a middle-aged Billy the Kidd, for example. And the film jumps from character to character and then back again, frequently.Chances are, if you are not an art film aficionado, you won't care for this one. On the other hand, if you do your Dylan homework, you may very well enjoy it even though it isn't typical mainstream movie fare.


It's hard to believe something this bad was approved by some producers somewhere. Tedious, pretentious, and rambling are just a few words to describe this hodgepodge of many turds.The ineptitude of the script and the corny accents and dialogue made this unwatchable. I was hoping to learn more about Dylan's life and music. Instead I got a rambling, incoherent, unorganized, slop of a film. In addition, Dylan's music just isn't that great to begin with, and the choices for the film certainly don't help.Hopefully, someday, a good film may be made about Dylan and his music; this is not it.


Todd Haynes has delivered his best film to date about the multiple facets of living legend musician, poet, and writer, Bob Dylan. While Dylan has been awarded the Kennedy Center Honors, this film is quite a tribute to the man's legacy and his role forever in the world and not just America. For most of us, Bob Dylan is a songwriter and musician but also philosopher, poet, and activist. His music inspired people and still does. The film is a mixture of six characters including an African American child Marcus Carl Franklin who played Woody in the 1950s. There is Cate Blanchett's well-deserved Oscar nomination for supporting actress as Jude Quinn in the mid-60s in England where the song, "Mr. Jones," comes into play. Bruce Greenwood played the inspirational role of a British television journalist. There is Richard Gere in the 1800s small town with his dog, Henry. There is Ben Whishaw who is not used enough in the film. Of course, the late Heath Ledger played a significant role opposite French actress, Charlotte Gainsbourg. Michelle Williams played Coco, an actress, as well. This film is perfect casting. The writing might need more tweaking and the ending was confusing but the originality is what I'll take away from it. This film is a perfect tribute to Bob Dylan.