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I'm Not There (2007)

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Ruminations on the life of Bob Dylan, where six characters embody a different aspect of the musician's life and work.

Director:

Todd Haynes

Writers:

Todd Haynes (screenplay), Oren Moverman (screenplay) | 1 more credit »
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Popularity
4,175 ( 532)
Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 28 wins & 47 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Cate Blanchett ... Jude
Ben Whishaw ... Arthur
Christian Bale ... Jack / Pastor John
Richard Gere ... Billy
Marcus Carl Franklin ... Woody / Chaplin Boy
Heath Ledger ... Robbie
Kris Kristofferson ... Narrator (voice)
Don Francks ... Hobo Joe
Roc LaFortune ... Hobo Moe
Larry Day ... Government Agent
Paul Cagelet ... Carny / Bell-Hop
Brian R.C. Wilmes Brian R.C. Wilmes ... Circus Man (as Brian RC Wilmes)
Pierre-Alexandre Fortin ... Gorgeous George
Richie Havens ... Old Man Arvin
Tyrone Benskin ... Mr. Arvin
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Storyline

Six incarnations of Bob Dylan: an actor, a folk singer, an electrified troubadour, Rimbaud, Billy the Kid, and Woody Guthrie. Put Dylan's music behind their adventures, soliloquies, interviews, marriage, and infidelity. Recreate 1960s documentaries in black and white. Put each at a crossroads, the artist becoming someone else. Jack, the son of Ramblin' Jack Elliott, finds Jesus; handsome Robbie falls in love then abandons Claire. Woody, a lad escaped from foster care, hobos the U.S. singing; Billy awakes in a valley threatened by a six-lane highway; Rimbaud talks. Jude, booed at Newport when he goes electric, fences with reporters, pundits, and fans. He won't be classified. Written by <jhailey@hotmail.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

All I Can Do Is Be Me Whoever That Is


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for language, some sexuality and nudity | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

Germany | Canada | USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

7 December 2007 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

I'm Not There See more »

Filming Locations:

Québec, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$20,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$730,819, 22 November 2007

Gross USA:

$4,017,609

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,664,116
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Black and White (partly)| Color

Aspect Ratio:

2.35 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Singers John Doe and Mason Jennings provided the singing voice for Christian Bale's character and Stephen Malkmus (of Pavement fame) provided the singing for Cate Blanchett's character. Richard Gere, Heath Ledger and Ben Whishaw don't sing at all in the film. Ironically, both Bale and Gere have sung in movies before. See more »

Goofs

Right after Jude leaves the Beatles and they are chased by fans, you can see the last person in the mob slow down immediately when they're behind the trellis. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Narrator: There he lies. God rest his soul, and his rudeness. A devouring public can now share the remains of his sickness, and his phone numbers. There he lay: poet, prophet, outlaw, fake, star of electricity. Nailed by a peeping tom, who would soon discover...
Jude: A poem is like a naked person...
Narrator:
  • even the ghost was more than one person.

Arthur: ...but a song is something that walks by itself.
See more »

Connections

References Masculin Féminin (1966) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm Not There
Performed by Sonic Youth
Written by Bob Dylan
Produced by Sonic Youth and John Agnello
Published by Dwarf Music (SESAC)
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
Amazing! (Dylan's not there)
18 November 2007 | by mickjongoldSee all my reviews

This film amazed me. One reason it worked for me is because it's drenched in Dylan's music. I wasn't expecting that. Most of the time, it's Dylan's voice when 'Blind Willie McTell' or 'Moonshiner' or 'Idiot Wind' (the slow, acoustic version) suddenly erupt on the sound track to huge emotional effect. Other times instrumental teasers from 'Man In The Long Black Coat' or 'Nashville Skyline Rag' are planted in the mix like fragments of dreams you can't quite focus on. All the pre-release publicity had revolved around Cate Blanchett is girl Dylan! and Marcus Carl Franklin is African American boy Dylan! but the film itself unfolds like a kaleidoscopic dream where the pieces never quite meet. A bit like me and all my friends scratching our heads in the 1960s and 1970s and earnestly wondering how John Wesley Harding related to Blonde On Blonde, or how Slow Train Coming related to Blood On the Tracks. Well they don't. In "Chronicles, Volume One" Dylan dwells on the moment when he stumbled across Rimbaud's declaration "Je est un autre" which translates into English: "I is someone else". Dylan writes: "When I read those words the bells went off. It made perfect sense. I wish someone would have mentioned it to me earlier." That insight has sustained Dylan thru all his multiple personalities, finger pointing folkie, rock & roll rebel, Nashville good ol' boy (Oh me oh my, love that country pie), tormented lover, Born Again Christian. When he performed on his first album, aged 21, he was trying to summon up the voice of a 60 year old blues singer.

That insight sustains this movie because Haynes and his team have been able to match a visual style to each image of Dylan's life. From the burnt out black & white textures of 'Fellini's 8½' which seem to lock Blanchett inside an amphetamine-fuelled bubble of superstardom to the mellow colour photography of 'McCabe and Mrs Miller' which frames Richard Gere. I was surprised by the long Gere sequence. He seems like a recluse in the backwoods but all these strange characters and circus animals roll past, capturing the mood of those bizarre Basement Tape songs: 'Please Mrs. Henry', 'Open The Door Homer'. It seems to be set in a realm that Greil Marcus called 'The Old, Weird America'. And there's a visionary flash where Gere peers into the landscape and has a glimpse of Vietnam. It made perfect sense to me. There's a moment in the Sing Out! interview with Dylan in 1968 (when Dylan was secluded in Woodstock) when Happy Traum asked Dylan "Why don't you speak out against the Vietnam War?" and Dylan replied: "That really doesn't exist. It's not for or against the war. I'm speaking of a certain painter and he's all for the war. He's ready to go over there himself. And I can comprehend him. People just have their own views. Anyway, how do you know that I'm not, as you say, for the war?" When Charlotte Gainsbourg (who seems to be playing a composite of Suze Rotolo and Sara Dylan) suddenly drops the divorce settlement into Heath Ledger's lap, the film cuts to newsreel shots of Henry Kissinger and Lo Duc Tho signing the Vietnam ceasefire accords in Paris. This film isn't a biopic, this film works in a free association surreal way, like Stuck Inside of Mobile with the Memphis Blues Again, or Highlands works. It's true to the spirit of one of Dylan's greatest songs, a song which goes places where no words can go, a song which gives this film its title: "Now, when I keep believing I was born to love her /But she knows that the kingdom waits so high above her /And I run but I race, but it's not too fast or slow /But I don't deceive her. I'm not there, I'm gone...


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