Review: New York, I Love You (2009)

Damn you Faith Akin for directing a segment of this movie!

Written By: Faith Akin, Xan Cassavetes, Hu Hong, Israel Horovitz, Shunji Iwai, Olivier Lécot, Joshua Marston, Suketu Mehta, Yao Meng, Anthony Minghella, Jeff Nathanson, Natalie Portman, Hal Powell, James C. Strouse, & Stephen Winter
Directed By: Faith Akin, Yvan Attal, Randall Balsmeyer, Allen Hughes, Shunji Iwai, Wen Jiang, Shekhar Kapur, Joshua Marston, Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, & Brett Ratner

I’m not the biggest fan of New York, I’ve voiced that opinion in the past. I do vastly prefer Chicago when it comes to metropolitan cities within the borders of the the United States. However, not even New York deserves the treatment it is given in New York, I Love You. There is one worthwhile segment in this entire film. One worthwhile segment that is surrounded by utter and complete tripe. The reason for the terribleness of New York, I Love You is simple, it’s as dishonest of a movie as one could hope to find.

My misgivings towards New York do not blind me from the fact that it is a city full of real people living their lives. There are honest, hard working, and artistic people who are full of life and spend their lives in New York. They are the people who make up New York, they are the people who do the city proud and give the city the flavor that it so enjoys. They are not, however, the people we are shown in New York, I Love You. The people we meet in this vignette based film from a bevy of directors and writers are quirky and weird. They are the type of people who inhabit one small corner of New York in a movie. Yet if this movie is to be believed they are the people that inhabit the entirety of New York, running rampant across every borough. There are plenty of opportunities for New York, I Love You to showcase the real heart and soul of the city. Instead the film allows the ambulances and police cars to pass by in the background. The working class folk walk past the camera without it noticing them and the interesting stories of those living life in the Big Apple are ignored in favor of a lot of whimsical and quirky claptrap.

To say that I hated New York, I Love You would be an understatement. It would be more accurate to say that I loathed this film, all but for one segment that is. Late in the film there is a segment directed by Joshua Marston that shows a very old couple, played by Eli Wallach and Cloris Leachman, making their way through the city. This is the one vignette in New York, I Love You that is honest and true. Watching that old couple argue and bicker as they walk through the city is refreshing when placed against the inherent vacuousness of the rest of the film. The emotional honesty and the depth found in that one five minute vignette is more real than the entirety of the rest of New York, I Love You combined.

I only watched New York, I Love You because Faith Akin directed a segment. His segment was just as bad as the rest of the non-Joshua Marston segments, and that is s shame. I may not think that New York is the bees knees, but I know that the city, and more importantly the people that inhabit said city, are far better than what I was given in New York, I Love You. If the people who inhabit New York are as vacuous, empty, shallow, fake, and uninteresting as those in New York, I Love You then there should never be another movie made about New York. But that doesn’t describe the people of New York and that is why movies are still made about that city. That’s also why New York, I Love You is a failure that does the city of New York a great disservice.




2 responses to “Review: New York, I Love You (2009)

  1. I didn’t like this one either though not as intensely as you did. I did like Joshua Marston’s segment as well as the ones by Mira Nair, Natalie Portman, Faith Akin, and (believe it or not) Brett Ratner.

    I was just put off by the casting and the visual palette which I found to be very bland. I agree that it was dishonest because although I’ve only been to NYC once back in August of 1995. NYC didn’t look like that at all. It’s one of the things about the film that I really didn’t like. If you wanted to know why Scarlett Johansson’s segment got cut from the film. It was because it was just about Kevin Bacon buying a hot dog in Coney Island shot in black and white with no dialogue.

  2. That segment might have actually been more honest and true to New York than the rest of the film.

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