Elizabethtown: A Story about Happiness born from Loss

Elizabethtown is a story of life and loss, but most importantly about finding the courage to smile in the wake of epic failure. And it just might teach you a thing or two…

I remember watching this film with my girlfriends when it was showing in theatres: we were 16, hopelessly crushing on Orlando Bloom and we all wanted to be like Kirsten Dunst. We laughed, we cried, we gushed over Orlando’s dreaminess – after the first close-up of his outstandingly handsome face, my friend Louise sighed and went “[this film is] already worth every penny”- and we all bought the soundtrack, the poster and the dvd afterwards. We were in a completely different stage in our lives than the characters were, but we somehow still related to the story because it shows that sadness, loss and failure are part of life and how happiness can be found (again) in the most unexpected places and situations.

Elizabethtown (2005): Directed by Cameron Crowe; starring Orlando Bloom (Lord of the Rings, Pirates of the Carribbean, Troy, all those posters you used to cover your bedroom walls with), Kirsten Dunst (a.k.a your ultimate girlcrush growing up, Bring it on, Mona Lisa Smile, Marie Antoinette), Susan Sarandon (Stepmom, Thelma & Louise), Jessica Biel (Total Recall, 7th Heaven, Next), Alec Baldwin (Pearl Harbour, The Departed, 30 Rock); running-time 123mins.

What’s it about? After a colossal professional fiasco, Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) wants to kill himself. As he is about to off himself in the most original manner in recent cinematic history, he receives a call from his sister (Judy Greer), informing him of his father’s passing. With his mother (Susan Sarandon) and sister counting on him to take care of everything, Drew has no choice but to postpone his suicide and fly to Kentucky for the funeral arrangements. On the way there, he forms a bond with an obnoxiously positive flight attendant (Kirsten Dunst) who might just be able to give him back his will to live.

What’s it really about? The peculiar dynamic between life and death, sadness and happiness.

Pick if:

  • You’re in the mood for something sad yet uplifting to watch with your friends, family or on your own
  • You’re ready to immerse yourself in the many emotional layers of this story
  • You’ve ever failed fantastically at something
  • You have a large family: you’ll be able to relate to Drew as he is reunited with his folks for the first time in years
  • You like folk music: the soundtrack includes songs by Tom Petty, Elton John, My Morning Jacket, Ryan Adams and Lynyrd Skynyrd
  • You used to have a massive crush on Orlando Bloom as a teen: this’ll send you right back to those swooning days
  • Kirsten Dunst was your absolute role model and style icon growing up
  • You’re craving a roadtrip

Most memorable scene: After checking into his hotel room, Drew is able to pause for a moment and grasp the reality of what has happened for the first time. He needs to talk to somebody, but neither his sister, nor his ex-girlfriend really have time for him, so he ends up calling Claire, the flight attendant who looked after him on his way to Kentucky. They spend all night talking on the phone, then spontaneously decide to meet up and watch the sunrise together.

Most memorable quote: “So you failed. Alright you really failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You failed. You think I care about that? I do understand. You wanna be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around. Make them wonder why you’re still smiling.”

Magic Music Moment: *****SPOILER*****

Drew’s cousin Jesse, a failed musician, gets his band back together to perform at the funeral reception. But as is often the case, less is more, since the paper maché dove that is released during the band’s lively performance of “Free Bird” catches fire which ends in the entire room getting soaked by the sprinkler system.

Where can I watch? Elizabethtown is available for streaming on Amazon, iTunes and Google Play.



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