It was one of those days that I just accidentally realized that I haven’t seen the movie that I have copied from a friend a long time ago in my desktop. So I just clicked and watched it. This time it is Wong Kar Wai’s debut film in the US scene – My Blueberry Nights starring Norah Jones and Jude Law.
To give you a short summary of this film, it is a story of how a broken-hearted girl meets boy but girl left but still sends letters/post cards to boy while she’s in her journey of self-reflection and then she goes back to boy and they lived happily ever after. You might have heard the plot in every movie you’ve seen but this film has a very special place in my heart. I am no film expert so I can’t comment on how the camera pans in and pans out, how the story was interlaced and all those technical stuff mentioned in every movie review, I write base on how an ordinary movie watcher like me sees the movie. So basically, this is just a reflection paper about the movie.
For me the movie had this certain warmth that when it ended a part of me wanted to relive those moments and scenes. What made it so special was how every sub story gives important lesson to the main protagonist and how it has made her journey of healing worthwhile. The movie also shows that people come and go so at the end of the day you only have yourself to get by that’s why you should have internal peace before anything else.
So the film started with Elizabeth asking Jeremy, the café owner about a certain customer who we’ve known was her ex-boyfriend. Elizabeth was extremely heartbroken after knowing that her ex-boyfriend had cheated on her so she left her ex-boyfriend’s apartment keys to Jeremy. The next day Elizabeth returned to the same café to check if her boyfriend has already taken the keys but only to found out that he hasn’t.
Elizabeth then noticed that there’s a bowl full of keys and she asked him as to why he doesn’t throw the keys away. Jeremy answered that throwing the keys away would mean that the person might not be able to open those doors anymore if ever they want to come back. This had me thinking that we as a people, make decisions but are afraid of the finality of them. We have this fascination of the thought that we can still undo the things we’ve done. Just like letting go, we’ve told ourselves that we have already let go when in reality we’re still holding on to this very strand of hope that maybe things will go back to the way they’re used to be.
Elizabeth had exchanged conversations with Jeremy since then. The most poignant conversation they had was about the Blueberry Pie.
“So what’s wrong with the Blueberry Pie?”
“There’s nothing wrong with the Blueberry Pie, just people make other choices. You can’t blame the Blueberry pie, it’s just… no one wants it.”
These lines hit me straight to the heart. It tells me that sometimes, you just have to stop being hard on yourself because there are things that are just out of your control. You can’t always blame yourself for other people’s choices because first, it’s never wrong to be yourself and also, it might be unfortunate for not being chosen but people have to make choices. The blueberry pie just can’t become a cheesecake for other people to like it because if that happens then it’s definitely not a blueberry pie anymore. Just like you, you just can’t turn yourself into someone that other people want you to become because if you do, then it’s not you anymore.
I also liked it that she learned some painful lessons second-hand. The first lesson is to fully Let Go and the second is to never get afraid of trusting other people again. Elizabeth left New York broken-hearted, not knowing what to do without the person she thought she can’t live without but she felt she has to leave, she didn’t say goodbye – she just walked away. I also think that she absolutely needed that time for herself.
While in Tennessee, she got to know Arnie, the man who seemed to spend his whole night drinking in the bar she was working in. Then she got to know that this man was separated from his wife. It seemed like his wife left him for another man. He loved his wife so much that it had been difficult for him to move on.
Elizabeth could somehow relate to this man’s agony. She can see herself in him, she knew how it felt to be left, to be cheated and to be left hanging with hope that maybe someday both of you can get back together. Just like her, Arnie didn’t know what to do. He was a cop by morning but he wallowed in tears and tended his broken heart during the night.
Then came the biggest confrontation. Arnie’s wife, Sue Lynne declared that everything was over with them with Arnie, no more second chances and she begged to let her go. The night ended with Arnie dying in a car crash. It would be easy for us to judge Sue Lynne as the bitch who ruined the life of an honest cop. Fortunately, Elizabeth got to hear Sue Lynne’s side. The other part of the story, the part she might needed to hear.
Through this she learned and that includes us that sometimes you might not know that the love you are giving to the other person is already suffocating them that the only way they can breathe is to leave. The love might still be there and it might not be true that they hate you but if being with you is choking them, the best thing that you can give them is their freedom. Given that Elizabeth has just been from a painful break-up, she needed that conversation with Sue Lynne for her to fully let go of the guy she loved. To see it from her ex boyfriend’s perspective. It might have become harder for the both of them if she has clung unto him.
There’s a very thin line between love and obsession and it’s very hard to draw the line as to when is enough enough. Here she’s given the picture of what could have happened if she chose to insist on getting back together. Cliché as it may sound but You must let go for you to move on. It’s not only you that you’re depriving of the chance to move forward but also the person you can’t let go of. You just have to stop holding on to them because you’re weighing them down and in the end you might just destroy each other.
She then started working in a casino in Nevada. There she met the reckless gambler, Leslie. She had made a deal with Leslie, which was for Leslie to use her savings in poker, if Leslie loses she gets to own Leslie’s Jaguar car. It took time for Elizabeth to make a decision then she agreed. Then Leslie came out from the casino with her discouraged face telling Elizabeth that she lost and Elizabeth gets to own her car now but Elizabeth has to drive her home to Las Vegas so she can ask for money from her dad.
While in the journey, Elizabeth got to learn from Leslie that in the game of poker, you must trust no one and you must be able to read other people’s mind for you to win but sometimes even if you know what they’re thinking you still do the wrong thing because you can’t even trust yourself. Sometimes becoming overly defensive because of the thought of being vulnerable doesn’t always do well. You become more vulnerable because of the paranoia that you can’t trust everyone that you can’t even trust yourself anymore.
It made Elizabeth realize that building walls from other people is not always the best solution to prevent one’s self from hurting. They then received a call saying that Leslie’s dad was dying in a hospital. Leslie won’t believe it at first but they decided to visit to make sure. But the moment they arrived the least did they know, it was too late. Leslie’s Dad has already died. It was heartbreaking to see a ruined father-daughter relationship left as it is, broken – forever.
Sometimes the thought of the person you hurt being alive makes you sleep better at night because you know, one day if you’re already ready to own up with all the mistakes and faults you’ve made, you know you can still apologize and make amends to them. Death is so final, it leaves the other person hanging. They will never get the closure that they’ll ever deserve and they’ll always wake up in the middle of the night full of regrets and what ifs.
Elizabeth’s journey with Leslie ended with Leslie telling her that she can’t have her car because it’s one of the most important things that reminds her of her dad. And Leslie told Elizabeth the truth that she did in fact won the poker game but she needed a company to travel to Las Vegas that’s why she lied to Elizabeth. Elizabeth then got the chance to get her own car. Elizabeth mentioned that she decided not to trust other people but she’s glad she failed.
The Leslie story was for her to learn that you have to make the most of the things while you still have time and before it’s too late. And it’s never wrong to trust other people. Because life, whether your like it or not, is a cycle. You trust – you get hurt – you learn and then you trust again. And Life is a gamble. No one always knows what’s next. You just have to give what you have and see where it takes you.
From all the travels and the journey she’s been through she then came back to where she truly belongs, her hometown, NY. It took her almost a year but at least she has become whole again and stronger. It’s great that she didn’t start another relationship right away after the heart break. She need not hurry to be in another relationship if she knows she’s still hurt from the previous one. She needed that journey to pick up the pieces of herself that got shattered from the previous relationship. She just can’t be with someone if she knows in herself that she’s not whole. It’s the same thing with Jeremy, he has fully let go of the past and has thrown all the keys in the bowl. Because he learned that even how much you like to be back in the other person’s life, if they don’t want you back anymore then it wouldn’t just work.
So I’ll just end this very long reflection paper/summary of the movie with a note that Life is so short, we get hurt, we get broken but at the end of the day it’s always up to us if we want to move forward and make the best out of every situation.