I saw Cameron Crowe’s Elizabethtown last year in the theater and although i love Crowe’s movies, i left the theater thinking that it was one of his worst films to date. I also thought that that Orlando Bloom completely ruined the movie. He had no depth, was not interesting and had no redeeming value as a character.
The film, for those who haven’t see it, is about Drew (Orlando Bloom). In the beginning of the film he causes the Oregon shoe company he works for to lose hundreds of millions of dollars, is fired for his mistake, and promptly dumped by his girlfriend, Ellen. On the verge of suicide, Drew is oddly given a new purpose in life when he is brought back to his family’s small Kentucky hometown of Elizabethtown following the death of his father, Mitch, as it falls to him to make sure that his dying wishes are fulfilled. On the way home to Kentucky, Drew meets a flight attendant, Claire Colburn (Dunst), with whom he falls in love, in a romance that helps his life get back on track.
That was the movie i saw (again, which is not very good). Now, over a year later, i have learned more about what the underlying real story of Elizabethtwon might be. Apparently, Kirsten Dunst (Claire) actually plays an angel sent back to earth to save Orlando Bloom (Drew) and place him back on a heavenly path. I learned most of this from Todd Zimmerman (here). I’d like to list these facts as i see them. They certainly would make a repeat viewing much more enjoyable.
Some clues of the hidden plotline….
- At the shoe company
- The corporate shoe king Phil (Alec Baldwin) plays satan and tries his hardest to condemn Drew and drive him to suicide. He has a monologue about the virtues of “original thought” and doing things for yourself.
- Phil’s assistant, Ellen, is also Drew’s girlfriend. She clearly is trying to destroy him too.
- Drew chooses to skip Christmas and a wholesome family event for the hedonistic office party – displaying his life is veering towards one of moral corruption. His soul is not grounded.
- Drew’s main product – his shoes, similar to his self, have a flawed sole/soul that needs saving or fixing.
- On the plane, we can conclude Claire (Dunst) has been sent back down by God to help a lost soul. She alludes to “not doing her job in the skies well” and that Drew is her last chance.
- Her quote “I’m hard to forget but impossible to remember” makes a lot of sense if she really is sent to earth to guide people.
- Claire decides to take Drew on as a case as he’s in need of help. She refers of a “trip to Hawaii” which we can interpret as going back to heaven, which she decides to pass on.
- At the end, she has to make a decision about her own future in addition to saving Drew. Is personal love on Earth more rewarding than impersonal love from Ben.
- Claire refers to another guy, Ben, and we have to determine for ourselves whether or not he actually exists. Ben=God.
- His cousin Jessie could be a christ/god-type figure. He is an unconventional father. He fixes computers, i.e. solves modern man’s problems. He is very lenient to his own child Samson – who doesn’t seem to have a mother…odd? Everyone is equal in his house (Lincoln and Ronnie Van Zant).
- Drew’s mother Holly was also a lost soul once, until Drew’s dad found her. They met in an “elevator.”
- The cremator guy and Claire give each other funny looks as if they know they’re on separate sidelines. He convienently schedules the cremation to be done early and gets some strange satisfaction in that fact
- The wedding Claire and Drew attend:
- Symbol of people in Heaven.
- No premarital sex – in fact, Claire is perceived by them as breaking that rule and jokingly called a slut by them (at the bottom of an elevator too
There are many other referecnes to Hell and God in the movie, but i think you get the idea. For me, the new-found plot doens’t change the movie’s “crappy” status. But, it does make it much more watchable and interesting. Kudos to Crowe for at least trying to put some layers into the film. It’s too bad that the first layer was so bad that i don’t care that much about the rest.