Review of I Am Not There

Whenever there is a conversation where Bob Dylan has come up, everyone has a strong opinion of him–not matter if fan or foe. And from watching I Am Not There, the 2007 film based on Dylan-esque characters, I’m sure Dylan himself knows this all too well.

A major theme of the movie is fame and how it is like to be a person in society whose life doesn’t just belong to himself (the theme of another favorite film of mine, The Queen). The Dylan personas are fighting the expectations of others, and there is no internal character introspective–no reflection from the Dylan-esque characters. Instead we have his songs, and the challenge of the audience to figure what the hell Dylan’s songs mean while watching the movie.

I enjoyed the challenge, but the movie is a tad “arthouse” to be really accessible for me. And since I am not a Dylan-phile, I know hundreds of references went pass me unnoticed. But I did know of his folk music betrayal in 1965, and it was superfun to watch Cate Blanchett take ‘em on.

I liked the movie more because I have been recently introduced to two women of Bob Dylan: Factory Girl’s Edie Sedgewick and Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan cover babe, Suze Rotolo (during a NPR interview).

The bottom line is I Am Not There is as complicated as Dylan’s discography—something you can follow if you pay attention.

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