Elizabethtown: A Movie with Lots of Good Blues Music

Since we all obviously appreciate high quality guitar music around here, a movie with plenty of blues guitar is bound to make to our top faves as soon as we see it for the first time. Just like in the case of The Blues Brothers series which we previously presented, Elizabethtown (2005) is a nicely put together selection of good blues songs from the past century. Perhaps the music present throughout the story isn’t necessarily what you’ll read about when browsing other reviews more focused on the actors’ play skills or on the narrative richness, but for us, hearing such beautiful blues music was bound to stand out.

The story itself is otherwise complex enough to make the movie worth it even without considering its exceptional sound, but the blues music that accompanies the story is of course the cherry on top of everything. After a major fail at work and an ensuing break-up that leave him quite suicidal, shoe designer Drew (played by Orlando Bloom) finds out his father is dead and is charged by his mother and sister to go reclaim the ashes and bring them back home. Upon arrival to where his father died (while visiting his large Southern family), Drew has to deal with awkward family relations on top of everything. But somehow among all the things that go wrong, Drew rediscovers himself, his Southern patriarchal roots, the charm of life’s beauty and cynical irony all-in-one, and a girl who understands him. All of these things are somehow deployed in a very natural rhythm throughout the story, and enveloped in a very specific feel of Southern blues music, nostalgic and swampy and hopeful all at once.

elizabethtown1

What makes the budding romance in the story unique is it steady growth, not coming overwhelmingly together right from the beginning, but evolving just like the tempo of slow blues music. The irresistible trait of Claire, the flight attendant who helps Drew change his perspective on life (the character is played by Kirsten Dunst), is, of course, her taste in music. She puts together these wonderful compilations of blues music for him to listen to while going on a self-discovery trip, alone, meant to make him home to terms with his father’s death and his own shortcomings. The trip proves to be the best idea for Drew, and for their connection, not to mention how wonderful it is for us viewers who have a penchant for good blues music and its charms.

No matter if it’s a wedding or a funeral, Elizabethtown has a bluesy way of presenting life’s major events without much pump or artificial grandeur, but in a way that is both meaningful and sufficiently light to not come off as kitschy. By light you shouldn’t understand the mechanism usually referred to as comic relief, since it’s not the case. You’ll see what we mean: just watch it, in case you haven’t already.

As our personal faves from all the blues music wonderfully inserted in the story, we should mention at least a few key-moments. First of all, Elton John playing “My father’s gun” right at the moment when Drew gets to spend some time alone with his father’s body is heart-breaking and sets the mood just right. “From this day on, I’ll own my father’s gun / We dug his shallow grave beneath the sun” is straight-up from a Southern blues fairytale, and it couldn’t be more appropriate for the moment in the movie. Our second pick would have to be the wonderful surrendering tone of the blues music featured as the background for Drew and Claire’s 12 hour phone call, which is Ryan Adams’s “Come pick me up”. Never was a blues song featuring swear words so beautifully poetic. Give it a go and you’ll se just what we’re talking about.

To cut a long story short, our next movie recommendation for your weekend home cinema is definitely Elizabethtown, for all its wonderful blues music and a ton of additional reasons. Enjoy and let us know what you think of the songs.

VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0.0/10 (0 votes cast)
VN:F [1.9.22_1171]
Rating: 0 (from 0 votes)

Speak Your Mind

Facebook IconTwitter Icon