I'm Not There, This Isn't Happening

Posted by Miss Ess, November 27, 2007 02:14pm | Post a Comment

and I went to see I'm Not There this weekend and we loved it.  He covered the Todd Haynes territory in this blog he posted earlier this week, but I thought I should chime in a little since I'm a big Dylan fan.

The movie is very stream of consciousness, kinda like most Dylan songs.  If you have not seen it yet, please don't go to the theater expecting something easily followed, with a traditional narrative storyline, cause it's not like that at all.  In fact, that was one of the reasons I really liked the film-- it was different and unafraid to be so.  Throughout the film I wondered what others in the theater were making of the movie, and I wondered esp what those who may not be big fans of Dylan were thinking.  It seems like it would be pretty hard to follow if you didn't know much about him.  Dylan has always avoided being concretely characterized or pinned down by anyone or anything, and it was so cool to see someone as fantastic as Todd Haynes working within that fact and making it into something creative instead of trying to create a typical biopic.

There are 6 different actors each portraying a different aspect or period of Dylan's life.  Cate Blanchett has been getting all the press for this film it seems, and she deserves it-- she's brilliant!  All the details in the movie were just perfection-- it's obvious that Todd Haynes did a heck of a lot of homework to make this film happen.  I have to admit sometimes I thought it was weird to recreate scenes from his life or to take things that have happened and refashion them when this really is about a real person, but overall I was willing to suspend my belief and just go with the film as another piece of art.

Cate Blanchett plays Dylan at the point in his career when he was at his most vitriolic, which is really saying something!  She's Dylan circa '65/'66, when he "went electric" and faced the press and fans who were disgruntled.  He also had developed a pill addiction.  Cate will win an Oscar for this role, I am sure.  She is insanely good.

The toughest sections for myself and probably most viewers are the Richard Gere portions.  Richard Gere plays Dylan in his subconscious basically, in a world that exists only in his mind and creative spirit.  This is an old timey place, where Dylan is hidden away in a cabin, isolated from the chaos that exists in the nearby town.  The world is on the edge of collapse and when he heads into town to protest the coming changes, Dylan can only watch the goings-on and shout and ultimately run away.  It's a world straight out of Harry Smith's Anthology of American Folk Music, one of Dylan's greatest inspirations.

Heath Ledger seems determined to continually show us all his wiener throughout his filmic career.  He portrays Dylan when he becomes involved with and builds a life with his wife.  In the film her name is Claire and she's played by Charlotte Gainsbourg.  Although Heath is not my favorite, I did like these segments of the film.  They show how and why Dylan destroyed his marriage.

This little African American kid, Marcus Carl Franklin, plays the ragamuffin ideal Dylan wanted to be after reading Woody Guthrie's Bound For Glory as a child.  He's the hobo who hops trains and spins yarns to everyone he meets. 

Christian Bale and Ben Whishaw play two other versions of Dylan, including his Jesus loving Christian period, his Greenwich Village period and his press conference persona.

Oh yeah, and David Cross rules pretty much as Allen Ginsberg.  Random but so good.

I'm really interested to hear what other Dylan fans think of this film, so feel free to leave a comment if you have one.

Relevant Tags

Heath Ledger (2), Cate Blanchett (2), Christian Bale (2), Todd Haynes (5), I'm Not There (3), Bob Dylan (63), David Cross (5)