I’ve lived in New York City for two full months now. Sixty days does not a New Yorker make. I am still too timid when it comes to hailing a cab, and always a little anxious that I’ve gotten on the wrong train. But in my sixty days here, there have been many moments where I have paused to look around me and think, Damn…I love this city.
New York, I Love You, the latest film of the same producers and series that did Paris, J’taime, is a beautifully woven fabric of short films accenting all of the best (and worst) qualities of New York and the intrinsic love stories that pave these streets everywhere you turn. A collective effort, to say the least, the film hosts a daunting list of noted writers, directors, and actors, each creating their little piece of NYC romance to throw into the melting pot that is this anthology.
The interlacing stories include serendipitous street encounters, teenage woeful longing, lovers who are navigating the one-night-stand terrain, and old lovers who are just shuffling through each continuing day. Natalie Portman stars in a short piece highlighting the expansive Hasidic culture in New York, and an unlikely clash with one of the many other cultures this city hosts. Real-life couple Hayden Christenson and Rachel Bilson show off their acting chops and their luck in love when they appear together again in one storyline. Deeply poignant moments meet their match with some perfectly timed humor over the crazy mishaps that become daily experiences in such a city. Throughout the film, audiences are treated to visual treats as the stories jump location all across the boroughs and give way to some of the most impressive views the city has to offer.
With this anthology, slightly different than with Paris, J’taime, the creative team chose to weave the stories together ever so slightly with small side encounters, and paramountly with one specific character and her purpose for being in the city. Though the film ended with what seemed to me to be a bit of a letdown rather than a crescendo, the delicately sculpted moments throughout left for plenty of thoughts to shuffle through on my rainy walk to the subway platform.
New York is for lovers, they say. New York is for artists. New York is for immigrants. New York is for runaways. New York is for people, I’ve decided. New York is for lovers of people. It is a city for those who believe that there is just a little more life to be lived — a place where chance encounters and strange run-ins happen frequently and make even the most mundane tasks seem slightly glittery.
New York, I Love You showcased perfectly the sentiments I have witnessed and wondered about from my first days here — the way in which people in this city find a way to collide with one another. Painfully lonely at times, and expansively small, New York is host to millions of people who are fundamentally going through very similar yet strikingly different experiences…and they are all just looking for a way to bump into the next person and share even one brief moment of exchange. I think this might be one of the prevailing tones that ring throughout this city, and the film hit it dead-on. Though, obviously, New York, I Love You will hit a deeper nerve with those who have spent some time here, it is well worth the view for out-of-towners who are just looking to see little slices of city life from the comfort of their wide open spaces. Two months ago, I was saying goodbye to a long, tumultuous love affair with Cincinnati, Ohio. Now I am sinking into a brand new relationship with New York City. We are still in the honeymoon phase, with good moments outweighing the bad, but I’ll go out on a limb and say that any day now, I too will have to utter those three little words that make for this beautiful little gem of a film.