Here’s a review of the 2007 film I’m Not There in which six different actors (including Cate Blanchett) play Bob Dylan at different periods of his life. I wrote this when I was just starting to blog and since it’s Dylan’s 72nd birthday today, I’ve edited, updated, and reposted it in tribute.
I’m Not There is one of the most wholly original films I’ve ever seen. There really is nothing that I can compare it to. Put simply, it’s about Bob Dylan, so if you find Dylan or his music fascinating, there is a chance that you may enjoy Todd Hayne’s bizarre biopic. The movie is an exhibition of scattered vignettes based on Dylan’s life as well as his music. What makes the film almost infamously unique is that it takes care to keep unclear what is fiction and what is fact, eventually creating a vision of Dylan that is undeniably visionary.
This is no Walk the Line. This is not another Ray. I’m Not There is something else. It’s not a simple film. There’s a reason that I see loads of used copies of the movie in video stores. At this moment, the average user rating of the movie on IMDb is 6.9/10. Obviously, this is not a film that is loved by the general public. Nonetheless, I believe that it is an important film because of the ideas and styles that it introduces. The editing is exciting and the way that the movie subtly slips from real events to a fantasy sequence is daring and innovative.
Since I adore Dylan’s music, I was able to enjoy the film easily enough. One has to understand that any movie depicting his music would offer at least a hint of the surreal and psychedelic. For fellow lovers of Dylan’s music, I’d recommend this film. Anyone else may find it boring or rather polarizing. With six different actors representing Dylan at different periods of his life, the movie seems to emphasize the way Dylan has experimented with and explored life’s possibilities. In that light, I’m Not There is a fitting tribute that takes on the character of its subject: odd, unpredictable, and fascinating.