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Elizabethtown (film)

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Elizabethtown poster.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byCameron Crowe
Produced byCameron Crowe
Tom Cruise
Paula Wagner
Written byCameron Crowe
StarringOrlando Bloom
Kirsten Dunst
Susan Sarandon
Alec Baldwin
Bruce McGill
Judy Greer
Jessica Biel
Music byNancy Wilson
CinematographyJohn Toll
Edited byDavid Moritz
Distributed byParamount Pictures
Release date
  • September 4, 2005 (2005-09-04) (VIFF)
  • October 14, 2005 (2005-10-14)
Running time
119 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$45 million
Box office$52 million[1]

Elizabethtown is a 2005 American romantic tragicomedy film written and directed by Cameron Crowe and distributed by Paramount Pictures. Its story follows a young shoe designer who is down on his luck and was recently fired from his job after costing his company close to $1 billion. On the verge of suicide, he receives a call from his sister informing him of the death of his father. He then decides to return to his hometown of Elizabethtown to lay his father to rest and becomes involved in an unexpected romance. It stars Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Alec Baldwin, and Susan Sarandon.

The film was produced by Cruise/Wagner Productions and Vinyl Films. It premiered September 4, 2005 at the 2005 Venice Film Festival and was released worldwide on October 14, 2005. It grossed $10.6 million in its opening weekend and $52.2 million worldwide, against a budget of $45 million.[2] It received generally negative reviews and has a 28% approval rating based on 178 reviews on Rotten Tomatoes.[3]


Drew Baylor is a designer for a shoe company. When his latest design, hyped to be a great accomplishment in his life, has a flaw that will cost the company $972 million to correct, Drew is shamed by his boss before he is dismissed. Disappointed in his failure, and the subsequent breakup with his girlfriend Ellen, he plans to commit suicide, only to be stopped at the last moment by a call from his sister Heather telling him that his father died while visiting family in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. When his mother Hollie refuses to go, following a dispute between her and the rest of the Kentucky Baylors, Drew volunteers to retrieve the body.

On the flight to Kentucky, Drew meets Claire, an optimistic and kind flight attendant who gives him a seat in first class, due to the plane being empty. She provides helpful advice to a despondent Drew, giving him directions and tips on getting to his destination before they part. When he gets to Elizabethtown, Drew is met by the family, and he makes arrangements for a cremation at his mother's request, despite the family's objections. While staying at a hotel, where a wedding reception is being held, Drew calls his mother and sister, then his ex-girlfriend as he continues to struggle with his suicidal thoughts. Finally, he calls Claire, and the two of them talk for hours. She impulsively suggests they meet before she has to depart on a flight to Hawaii.

Drew comes to grips with his father's death, and while he is visiting his Aunt Dora, his uncle Bill remarks on how his father would look in the suit. Drew realizes that he hadn't given the suit to the mortuary to be cremated, and has second thoughts on the procedure. He rushes out to stop the cremation but is too late and is given his father's ashes. Claire returns from her flight and unexpectedly meets him at his hotel, where they have sex. Afterwards, she tells him she loves him, and he responds with regret that he failed at his life, admitting he was contemplating suicide. Claire leaves upset that Drew had not responded in kind.

Hollie and Heather arrive for the service, and Hollie tells a series of amusing anecdotes with her eulogy. Claire arrives, and tells Drew to take one final trip with his father, giving him a map with special stops to make along the way. Drew follows the map home, spreading his father's ashes at memorable sites until reaching a farmer's market, where a series of notes gives him a choice; to either follow the map home, or follow new direction. He chooses the latter, where Claire is waiting for him. The two kiss and Drew finally realizes he loves her.



Jane Fonda was cast in Sarandon's role, but had to drop out. Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Colin Hanks, Chris Evans, and James Franco all auditioned for Bloom's part. Kutcher was actually hired to play Drew, but director Cameron Crowe decided during filming that the chemistry between him and Dunst was not right and Kutcher left the project. Biel auditioned for the female lead, but was given a smaller role as Drew's ex-girlfriend.

There is a character named Ben who is mentioned as a love interest of Claire. In the original cut of the film, Ben is revealed to be Claire's brother.

Recognizable settings for scenes shot in Louisville, Kentucky include the Brown Hotel, Highland Middle School, and Cave Hill Cemetery. Opening scene shows a helicopter flying over downtown Portland, Oregon and the Fremont bridge. Although the exterior, lobby, and corridors of the Brown Hotel are seen, a replica of the Brown Hotel's Crystal Ball Room was re-created on a soundstage. While Bloom's character is supposedly traveling to "Elizabethtown" by car, he is going the incorrect direction on the road. He is also pictured going through the Cherokee Park tunnel, which happens to be on I-64. Elizabethtown is on I-65, about 40 miles (64 km) in the other direction.

Although the title of the movie is Elizabethtown, most of the small town scenes were actually filmed in Versailles, Kentucky. Only two scenes portraying distinctive landmarks were filmed in Elizabethtown itself, because many of Elizabethtown's historic buildings have been replaced by chain stores and sprawl. A few scenes were filmed in LaGrange. Other local scenes were filmed in Otter Creek Park in Meade County, near Brandenburg. Filming also took place in Scottsbluff, Nebraska;[4] Eureka Springs, Arkansas; Memphis, Tennessee; and Oklahoma City.[5]

In the original cut of the film shown at the Toronto International Film Festival, an epilogue reveals that the shoe designed by Drew turns out to be a hit, as it whistles with every step. This was cut from the release version of the film to prevent the ending seeming overly-drawn out.[6]

Joni Mitchell's painting Hyde Park appears in this film. Previously, one of her paintings had appeared in Crowe's Vanilla Sky.


Critical reception

The film received generally negative reviews by critics. Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a 28% approval rating based on 178 reviews, with an average score of 4.8/10. The site's consensus is "This story of a floundering shoe designer who returns home for a family tragedy gets lost in undeveloped plot lines and lackluster performances."[3] It holds a Metacritic score of 45 out of 100 from 37 critics.[7]

Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film a positive review, with three stars out of four. He describes the story as the most unrelenting "Meet Cute" in movie history. He goes on to say that although the film is nowhere near one of Crowe's great films like Almost Famous, it is sweet and good-hearted and has some real laughs.[6] Ebert later reprinted on his site an analysis of the film pointing out various plot elements supporting the idea of Claire being an angel.[8]

Manic Pixie Dream Girl

In his review, Nathan Rabin of The A.V. Club created the term "Manic Pixie Dream Girl" to describe the "bubbly, shallow cinematic creature" stock character type that he stated Dunst plays in the film.[9][10][11]

Box office

Elizabethtown was commercially released on October 14, 2005 in the United States. It was distributed to 2,517 theaters, and grossed $4,050,915 on its opening day. At the end of its opening weekend, the film had grossed $10,618,711, making it the third biggest gross for that weekend. Overall, the film grossed $52,034,889 worldwide within its release of 68 days.[1]


The film features dozens of contemporary rock songs, and Kentucky natives My Morning Jacket play Ruckus, a fictional rock group who reunite during the film.


  1. ^ a b "Elizabethtown (2005)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved October 28, 2010.
  2. ^ "Elizabethtown". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved February 14, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Elizabethtown (2005)". Rotten Tomatoes. San Francisco, California: Fandango Media. Retrieved February 12, 2021.
  4. ^ "Purity Seeds LLC". Archived from the original on April 22, 2008. Retrieved April 14, 2008.
  5. ^ Murray, Rebecca (June 17, 2010). "Elizabethtown Review - Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Elizabethtown Movie Review". Archived from the original on February 20, 2012. Retrieved January 23, 2012.
  6. ^ a b Ebert, Roger (October 13, 2005). "Elizabethtown". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved February 18, 2021 – via stars
  7. ^ "Elizabethtown". Metacritic. San Francisco, California: Fandango Media.
  8. ^ Ebert, Roger (June 27, 2006). "Elizabethtown Revisited". Chicago Sun-Times. Chicago, Illinois: Sun-Times Media Group. Retrieved February 18, 2021 – via
  9. ^ Gillette, Amelie (August 4, 2008). "Wild things: 16 films featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls | Film". The A.V. Club. Chicago, Illinois: The Onion. Archived from the original on December 20, 2008. Retrieved April 16, 2009.
  10. ^ Ulaby, Neda (October 9, 2008). "Manic Pixie Dream Girls: A Cinematic Scourge?". All Things Considered. Washington, D.C.: NPR. Retrieved January 5, 2010.
  11. ^ Rabin, Nathan (January 25, 2007). "My Year Of Flops, Case File 1: Elizabethtown: The Bataan Death March of Whimsy". The A.V. Club. Chicago, Illinois: The Onion. Retrieved January 5, 2010.

External links

This page was last edited on 19 February 2021, at 00:02
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