Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Cameron Crowe|
|Produced by||Cameron Crowe
|Written by||Cameron Crowe|
|Music by||Nancy Wilson|
|Editing by||David Moritz|
|Distributed by||Paramount Pictures|
|Release date(s)||September 4, 2005VIFF)
October 14, 2005
|Running time||123 minutes|
Elizabethtown is a 2005 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Cameron Crowe starring Orlando Bloom and Kirsten Dunst. Alec Baldwin has a small role as a CEO of an athletic shoe company and Susan Sarandon appears as a grieving widow.
Drew Baylor (Bloom) is the designer of the Späsmotica shoe, a world-famously hyped but flawed new product that his boss informs him will lose $972 million and is "a disaster of mythic proportions, [...] a folktale told to others that makes other people feel more alive because it didn't happen to them".
After he is fired, Drew's girlfriend Ellen (Jessica Biel) breaks up with him. Drew goes to his apartment, defeated, and attempts to commit suicide (by modifying an exercise bike and attaching a kitchen knife with duct tape so he would be stabbed to death when activating the bike). His sister Heather phones at just that moment to tell Drew that their father has just died and he needs to go to Elizabethtown, Kentucky, to bring the body back home.
At the airport, Drew's sister and mother tell him they wish to cremate his father's body. On a nearly empty plane, a quick-witted flight attendant, Claire (Dunst), gives him a free seat in First Class. He declines but she insists because she doesn't want to have to walk all the way back to Coach just for him.
Claire, who is energetic, charming, and knows how to read people, starts pestering Drew to get to know him. She knows Kentucky well and draws him a map to Elizabethtown because the roads are "hopelessly and gloriously confusing". She also jots her phone number on the map. When he arrives in Elizabethtown, a boy leads him to the funeral home, where Drew's cousin is waiting for him.
Various members of his family greet him as the "California boy", although his family had only lived in California for 18 months before moving to Oregon. After viewing his father's body, Drew meets with relatives at his Aunt Dora's house, realizing that he has a huge loving extended family in the middle-of-nowhere Kentucky.
Drew settles into a hotel that is hosting a special event called "Chuck and Cindy: The Wedding". The hotel is a mess from all of the people partying, and Drew is pleasantly surprised by a "Chuck and Cindy" gift basket in his room that states "lovin' life" on everything. Exhausted, Drew attempts to call home but receives no answer. He also calls his ex-girlfriend Ellen and receives no answer. Finally, he remembers that Claire gave him her number, calls her, and as she picks up, everybody else calls him back. Ellen officially breaks up with him, and his sister informs him that his mother "won't stop moving" as she attempts to learn how to cook, how to tap dance, and fix the car in lieu of mourning her husband's death. Claire stays on hold and when Drew returns to her line, they talk all night, connecting. Claire drives to meet Drew to see the sunrise. Claire leaves for a flight to Hawaii.
Drew meets his family near the burial plot where they would like his father's body buried. Drew insists on honoring his mother's wish for a cremation. He returns to the hotel, exhausted from being up all night on the phone with Claire and from arguing about cremation with both his mother and his extended family. Claire surprises him and takes him out all day to explore Elizabethtown, starting by helping him pick out an urn for his father. Drew is clearly attracted to Claire and she to him as well but she continues to claim that she has a boyfriend who is a professor and is "married to his academic career."
Later on that evening, Drew is spending time at his Aunt Dora's house and he sees a photo of his father near a flame from the stove. He suddenly regrets his choice of cremation and runs to the mortuary to stop the cremation but arrives too late and is given an urn containing his father's ashes. Drew returns to the hotel to find Claire there. They talk about their feelings and conclude they are not right for each other. They kiss and end up spending the night together. In the morning, Drew tells her about his failure and how he doesn't want to be in this world anymore. She belittles the huge failure, making him realize that he's just upset over money and failure. Disappointed in his inability to see through his pain and take this opportunity in front of him, Claire says she'll try to meet him at his father's memorial.
Drew's mother and sister arrive in Kentucky for the service. After various acquaintances speak in memory of Drew's father, his mother, Hollie, talks about her husband, comically, lightening the mood, and lifting a grudge the family has always held against her for "taking Mitch away." Then she does a tap-dance to his favorite song. Drew's cousin, along with his band "Ruckus" (consisting of members of Kentucky band My Morning Jacket), begin to play the classic Lynyrd Skynyrd song "Free Bird". The stage prop, a large paper dove, catches on fire, setting off alarms and causing emergency water sprinklers to go off, while everyone flees. Claire had shown up and given Drew a special map to guide him on a solitary road trip home from Kentucky. During the fire, Claire helps evacuate the room, and then she disappears. Drew assumes he'll never see her again.
Claire's map is very elaborate with instructions and CDs, guiding him "home." There are notes of places along the way he should visit. At each one, he spreads some of his father's ashes. During the trip, Drew comes to terms with his father and begins to talk to his urn, stating that they should have taken this trip together years ago. Finally, the directions come to a point where he is given two choices—to continue home or to finish the journey Claire laid out for him. Drew chooses to use her route.
He is instructed to go to the "Second Largest Farmer's Market in The World". There is a note telling him to "look for the girl with a red hat". After looking desperately for a few minutes, he finds the girl, who turns out to be Claire. The film ends with them kissing.
- Orlando Bloom as Drew Baylor
- Kirsten Dunst as Claire Colburn
- Susan Sarandon as Hollie Baylor
- Alec Baldwin as Phil DeVoss
- Bruce McGill as Bill Banyon
- Judy Greer as Heather Baylor
- Jessica Biel as Ellen Kishmore
- Paul Schneider as Jessie Baylor
- Loudon Wainwright III as Uncle Dale
- Gailard Sartain as Charles Dean
- Jed Rees as Chuck Hasboro
- Jim Fitzpatrick as Rusty
- Paula Deen as Aunt Dora
- Dan Biggers as Uncle Roy
- Alice Marie Crowe as Aunt Lena
- Tim Devitt as Mitch Baylor
- Ted Manson as Sad Joe
- Shane Lyons as Charlie Bill
- Emily Rutherfurd as Cindy Hasboro
Jane Fonda was cast in Susan Sarandon's role, but had to bow out. Ashton Kutcher, Seann William Scott, Colin Hanks, Chris Evans, and James Franco all auditioned for Orlando Bloom's part. Kutcher was actually hired to play Drew, but director Cameron Crowe decided during filming that the chemistry between him and Dunst wasn't right and Kutcher left the project. Jessica Biel auditioned for the female lead, but was given a smaller role as Drew's 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 and Cave Hill Cemetery. Although the exterior, lobby, and corridors of the Brown Hotel are seen, a passable replica of the Brown Hotel's Crystal Ball Room was re-created on a soundstage. While Orlando Bloom 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 60 miles 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, Kentucky. Other local scenes were filmed in Otter Creek Park in Meade County, near Brandenburg. Filming also took place in Scottsbluff, Nebraska, Eureka Springs, Arkansas, Memphis, Tennessee, and Oklahoma City.
In the original cut of the film shown at the Toronto 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.
Critical reception 
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. (Ebert would later reprint on his site an analysis of the film pointing out various plot elements supporting the idea of Claire being an angel.) In his negative 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 Dunst plays in the film.
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 opening for that weekend. Overall, the film grossed $52,034,889 worldwide within its release of 68 days.
- Elizabethtown (2005). Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- The Nebraska Department of Economic Development - Filmed in Nebraska
- "Elizabethtown Review - Orlando Bloom, Kirsten Dunst, Elizabethtown Movie Review". Movies.about.com. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2012-01-23.
- Roger Ebert. "Reviews :: Elizabethtown". Chicago Sun Times.
- Elizabethtown Movie Reviews, Pictures. Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2010-10-28.
- "Elizabethtown Revisited". Chicago Sun-Times.
- Gillette, Amelie. "Wild things: 16 films featuring Manic Pixie Dream Girls | Film". A.V. Club. Retrieved 2009-04-16.
- Ulaby, Neda (October 9, 2008). "Manic Pixie Dream Girls: A Cinematic Scourge?". All Things Considered. NPR. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
- Rabin, Nathan (January 25, 2007). "My Year Of Flops, Case File 1: Elizabethtown: The Bataan Death March of Whimsy". A.V. Club. The Onion. Retrieved 5 January 2010.
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