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Elizabethtown (2005)


Average Rating: 4.7/10
Reviews Counted: 171
Fresh: 48
Rotten: 123

Critics Consensus: This story of a floundering shoe designer who returns home for a family tragedy gets lost in undeveloped plot lines and lackluster performances.

Average Rating: 4.3/10
Reviews Counted: 42
Fresh: 10
Rotten: 32

Critics Consensus: This story of a floundering shoe designer who returns home for a family tragedy gets lost in undeveloped plot lines and lackluster performances.


Average Rating: 3.1/5
User Ratings: 351,913


Movie Info

A young man in need of a fresh start gets one under highly unexpected circumstances in this emotionally resonant comedy drama from writer and director Cameron Crowe. Drew Baylor (Orlando Bloom) is considered the big success story in his family, having moved away from the small Kentucky town where he was born to California, where he works as a designer for Mercury, the nation's biggest athletic shoe company. But success has begun to elude Drew -- his most recent design was a resounding flop that … More

PG-13 (for language and some sexual references)
Drama , Romance , Comedy
Directed By:
In Theaters:
Feb 7, 2006
Box Office:
Paramount Pictures - Official Site


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Critic Reviews for Elizabethtown

All Critics (177) | Top Critics (44) | Fresh (48) | Rotten (123) | DVD (25)

The hero's nuclear family and kooky rural relatives are so sketchily conceived that none of the intended comedy works, and the balance of the movie is given over to one of Crowe's sugary romances.

Full Review… | April 22, 2008
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

So curious, and such a disappointment.

Full Review… | April 22, 2008
Associated Press
Top Critic

Crowe's capable of much better than this; let's hope he gets back on track with the next one.

Full Review… | January 11, 2007
Seattle Times
Top Critic

The entire enterprise smacks of wish-fulfilment provoked by middle-age male guilt. Uplifting, it most certainly ain't.

Full Review… | June 24, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

The film's problems lie with the lack of spark between a wired Dunst and a bland Bloom.

October 22, 2005
Rolling Stone
Top Critic

Leaves one adrift on a raft of morose questions. How could this vacuous movie have got made? Didn't anyone at Paramount, which paid for the film, read the script? And also: What in the world has happened to Cameron Crowe?

October 18, 2005
New Yorker
Top Critic

Much maligned but surprisingly entertaining...

Full Review… | August 18, 2014
Reel Film Reviews

It's the fashion today for interpersonal dramas to go for bathos and high-stakes emotional conflict as characters cry out their darkest secrets to each other ... but director Cameron Crowe has taken a different tack.

Full Review… | March 21, 2011

Heartfelt and intolerable

Full Review… | September 1, 2009

Though Dunst is a saving grace, it's an awfully clunky, self-indulgent little heap of garbage.

Full Review… | April 29, 2009
Cinema Crazed

Orlando Bloom gives a typically abysmal performance as a man-boy who doesn't know if he's old enough to shave yet.

Full Review… | April 19, 2009

Awash with sentimentality, this meandering tale falls way short of Crowe's usual standards.

Full Review… | April 22, 2008

A meandering mood piece, with no tension, no chemistry, no character development, no plot and no point.

Full Review… | May 28, 2007
Upstage Magazine

The performances are solid . . . but it's Kentucky that really steals the show. Crowe paints the eccentricity of the locals with an affectionate brush.

September 22, 2006
Christianity Today

Embaraçosamente infantil, o filme ainda deixa claro que, além da falta de carisma, Bloom é um ator inexpressivo que não possui o menor timing cômico.

April 8, 2006
Cinema em Cena

Crowe is still a master navigator of swampy territory, and any movie that can warm the heart and tickle the funny bone without selling its soul is to be cherished, warts and all.

Full Review… | February 1, 2006
Empire Magazine

30 seconds in, it lost me. 3 minutes in, it angered me. 13 minutes in, I wanted to start randomly garotting people in the next row. 23 minutes in, I actually tried to.

Full Review… | January 10, 2006

With Elizabethtown [Crowe] has made another heartfelt movie shot through with his sensibility. He's also made a gigantic mess, the first directorial misfire in his six-film oeuvre.

Full Review… | December 9, 2005
Reel Times: Reflections on Cinema

I was surprised to find myself strolling along the film's basic plotline, not necessarily bowled over by what I was seeing, but not exactly disliking it either.

Full Review… | December 9, 2005
JoBlo's Movie Emporium

Crowe has some very good ideas here, many of them interesting and funny, but the story lacks cohesion, focus, and contains one too many scenes that simply fall flat.

Full Review… | November 13, 2005
Spectrum (St. George, Utah)

Esta cinta ya la vimos...aún antes de entrar a la sala.

Full Review… | November 10, 2005

If, as the film suggests, true greatness is defined by the willingness to fail, fail big and still stick around afterwards, then consider Elizabethtown a sweet, melancholy paean to that sad truth.

Full Review… | November 10, 2005
IGN Movies

Audience Reviews for Elizabethtown

Things I Liked About "Elizabethtown" Upon Second Viewing
1. Orlando Bloom's performance. Despite having contracted Orlando Bloom Fever at the beginning of his mainstream career, with each "Pirates" and "LotR" installment, I got wearier and wearier of his pretty boy, dainty-featured backpfeifengesicht - German for "a face in desperate need of a fist." I felt a bit of that repulsion in the first few minutes of this viewing, but I eventually made peace with the delicate flower of his visage and was really impressed with his acting, especially during the road trip montage when he's alternately crying and laughing to himself.

2. The heartwarming midwest community. I saw this for the first time in northern Virginia, so perhaps I didn't understand the midwest mentality until I lived in Indiana. My daily life isn't quite like the family portrayed here, but even I was moved at the sequence of Drew first driving into Elizabethtown and seeing everyone waving and smiling at him with faces of seeming recognition, welcoming back the Prodigal Son.

3. The memorial ceremony turned into raucous fire and blazes, accompanied by Ruckus's indomitable cover of "Free Bird."

4. Claire's thought and effort of creating an emotional road trip for Drew to scatter his father's ashes.

Things I STILL HATE About "Elizabethtown" Upon Second Viewing
1. Kirsten Dunst. I didn't find her or her character, Claire, charming, cute, deep, or romantic (like NaPo's Sam in "Garden State" and even she's only likeable in small doses). "Elizabethtown" came during that dryspell after Kiki had outgrown her lost prodigy depth and bubbly cheerleader charm - which yielded such lifeless and/or annoying performances as in "The Cat's Meow," "Spiderman," "Eternal Sunshine," "Wimbledon," and this - and before she rebirthed herself as melancholic muse for the likes of Sofia Coppola and Lars von Trier. Her Kentuckian accent is terribly...not, and she plays Claire as much too self-deprecating (half-laughing through the big "I like you!" line), as if the actress didn't even buy the character's quirkiness. Claire herself is just a girl. She recites some manic pixie dreamgirl juxtapositions that seem delightfully incongruous, but then prove to be ACTUALLY incongruous and faux-inspired, e.g. "I'm impossible to forget, but I'm hard to remember." "Men see things in a box, and women see them in a round room." Is she? Do they?

2. The so-called fiasco involving Drew's shoe design. There's so much pretentious, aphoristic talk about fiascos and failures, but what exactly WAS the fiasco? What was wrong with the shoe? How could such a promising young podophile possibly think this vaguely Skechers Shape-Up prototype would work, and how did no one else notice its Achilles' Heel, if you will? The fact that none of this is ever revealed shows how little legitimate research on the shoe industry Cameron Crowe did. For one, it's lazy writing and directing. For two: see below.

3. The light treatment of suicide. This needn't have been a sadder movie, but it IS realistic at least, for all intensive porpoises. Without the grounding exploration of what failure means in the shoe industry, Drew's subsequent obsession with suicide is purely comical and absurd, not intellectual or existential. I'm never actually worried for or in suspense about his mortality. Also, the repercussions of the fiasco are only limned in monetary terms. Drew never expresses critical doubt about his mental, intellectual, social or self worth, which are more compelling problems than just the Benjamins. Even after Claire admits her burgeoning feelings for him, his immediate response is to blithely cite his date with destiny? Suicide's just a quirky appointment, not something that he is seriously debating cuz I'm sure after meeting his manic pixie dreamgirl, he'd be more apt to wine and dine the girl, not slice and dice his veins.

4. Hollie's tap dance. Okay, I normally love DANCE in movies, but I just wish this number was a little better. I know Hollie had just learned to tap dance on a whim in her grief, but the choreography was more soft shoe than tap. After her standup routine (which I didn't like although I do understand its purpose of diffusing grief), I just wasn't moved or impressed by the dance, and I wanted either more emotion or better execution.

5. The "last look" at the memorial. I was already irritated by the quirkiness of Drew "collecting last looks" and Claire clicking her mental camera, and Crowe managed to mess it up in the one place it could work. Amid the smoke, sprinklers, and Skynyrd, Drew looks up to the stage one last time, presumably at the sad but oddly jubilant tableau of his father's smoldering portrait and this utter shitshow, and thinks that this is a good last look, only to reveal Claire as the subject of his observation. It's not even that good of a last look, and it's clearly not the last time she'll be seeing him. I could buy it if it was a goodbye to his father and to the vagaries of the midwest.

6. The fact that everyone loves the soundtrack. I think it's overrated. Many of the songs sound like the same indie moaning. I prefer "Vanilla Sky"'s soundtrack.

Alice Shen

Super Reviewer


This is my second time watching this and 1 hour in I am removing this from the DVD player and my collection. It totally bores the hell out of me.
I like Kirsten Dunst, and she is charming here as Clare, but it is not enough to save this film and she's not in it enough.
Unconvincing on almost every level, Orlando cannot hold a film for two hours.

Nicki Marie

Super Reviewer

The movie sucked and made kittke sense by the soundtrack was excellent, shame James Brown with thats life didn't make the sound track. Movie gets 2 stars, Soundtrack gets 5 stars

Bruce Bruce

Super Reviewer

I didn't expect that this film would be this good, but I was surprised. I thought that this would be your regular run of the mill chick flick, it really wasn't. The film was a great blend of comedy and drama and the performances were well done. Cameron Crowe has made a terrific film with a different style than your regular romantic film. I thought it was a fine change of pace from other films. The cast here are terrific in the parts they play. I thought that Cameron Crowe was terrific for the director's chair, and he creates a film that is sad, funny and heart warming. Elizabethtown definitely exceeded my expectations. This is a great film is a must see film and there's plenty of scenes to like about this film. I enjoyed the scene where they play Skynyrd's Freebird at the memorial. For me that was one of the best parts of the film. I enjoyed this film very much, and I didn't expect to like this film, whatsoever, but I was surprised I did. The reason that the film works so well is because of the talented cast, and great direction from Cameron Crowe. Elisabethtowm is a fun, and sad drama comedy film that is better than your usual films of the genre, because it manages to be quite different. If you love Cameron Crowe's work, then give this one a shot, it's a fun, heartwarming and sad film, but in the end you feel uplifted and happy. A very good hearted story Elizabethtown is a wonderful film with a great cast and a surprising story. The film is not your usual romance film, and it's a refreshing idea to the genre. A must see.

Jeff "The Dude" Lebowski

Super Reviewer

Elizabethtown Quotes

Claire Colborn:
We're the substitute people, remember?
– Submitted by Angela R (2 years ago)
Claire Colborn:
You want to be really great? Then have the courage to fail big and stick around! Make them wonder why your still smiling.. That's true greatness to me. But, don't listen to me, I'm a Claire.
Drew Baylor:
Well, Thank you Claire..
Claire Colborn:
You're welcome. If you quit trying to break up with me. You're always trying to break up with me. And we're not even together.
Drew Baylor:
I know. Wait, we're not?
Claire Colborn:
Of course not. We're the substitute people remember?
– Submitted by Nadz S (2 years ago)
Claire Colborn:
I'll miss those lips and everything that is attached to it.
– Submitted by Nadz S (2 years ago)
Claire Colborn:
Do you ever just think I'm fooling everybody?
Drew Baylor:
You have no idea.
– Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
Claire Colborn:
I'm impossible to forget, but I'm hard to remember.
– Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)
Claire Colborn:
Trust me. Everybody is less mysterious than they think they are.
– Submitted by Maria Y (2 years ago)

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