New York, I Love You Movie Poster Image

New York, I Love You

Sometimes-edgy shorts collection captures Big Apple’s verve.
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2009
  • Running Time: 110 minutes

What parents need to know

Positive messages

The movie presents New York City as a place for both connections and disconnections. Although it has a reputation as a cold and forbidding place, Manhattan is portrayed as actually quite warm and embracing -- if you catch it in the right mood. The movie has a complex take on issues like relationships and love.

Positive role models

The wide range of characters runs a large gamut of behavior. You'll find "good" girls and "bad" guys (a pickpocket, for one), "good" guys and "bad" girls (a prostitute, for example), and everything in between.

Violence

A man jumps out of a window; his body is briefly shown lying bloody on the street below. Another man roughs up a pickpocket. People yell at each other.

Sex

A stranger approaches a woman and tells her in fairly graphic detail what he’d do to her if she went home with him. Other scenes show a man and a woman separately reliving their hook-up; there are brief flashes of nudity, but nothing too graphic. Teens have sex in Central Park (no nudity, but the act is clearly suggested -- for example, the girl asks the boy to remove her underwear).

Language

Some use of words like “s--t,” “whore,” and “f--k.”

Consumerism

iPhone logo, Apple laptop.

Drinking, drugs, & smoking

A fair amount of smoking in some vignettes; social drinking.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this collection of shorts about living in New York City -- whose large ensemble cast includes Shia LaBeouf, Bradley Cooper, Natalie Portman, Blake Lively, and many more -- runs the gamut from sweet to seductive to sexually (at least verbally) explicit. It makes for entertaining but unpredictable viewing, especially since many of the vignettes include swearing ("s--t," "f--k," etc.), smoking, and drinking (though not all do). Given the movie's mature themes and complex structure, it will likely appeal more to adults than teens and younger kids.

What's the story?

A once-famous singer (Julie Christie) revisits an old haunt, intent on ending her life. A man (Irrfan Khan) and a woman (Natalie Portman) from wildly different cultures flirt over a jewelry transaction, keenly aware that they can't be together. A pickpocket (Hayden Christensen) gets more than he bargains for when a typical lift turns oddly romantic. Two near-strangers (Bradley Cooper and Drea de Matteo) contemplate their one-night stand, and two teenagers (Olivia Thirlby and Anton Yelchin) embark on a most unusual date. These are just some of the adventures that unfold in NEW YORK, I LOVE YOU, a collection of shorts written and directed by an ensemble of artists and set in a resplendent New York. (It's actually the second in a series of vignette-based films about cities -- Paris, Je T'aime was first.)

Is it any good?

QUALITY

As might be expected from a collection of shorts, New York, I Love You has both highs and lows. Robin Wright Penn’s installment goes from heartbreaking to hopeful, while a connective storyline about a filmmaker is inert. The segment featuring Christie (which also stars Shia LaBeouf) is affectingly dreamlike, while one about a composer forced to read a classic is leaden. But there are many moments to enjoy, and the acting is first rate.

Still, because of the movie's structure, the audience can’t get too invested in any one storyline -- a legitimate complaint. But what’s truly missed is a larger sense of place. Yes, we see Manhattan's taxi cabs, glamorous restaurants, and crowded streets. But the neighborhoods are paint-by-numbers different. In the end, the New York presented here still feels a little bit like a city observed by outsiders instead of those who truly revel in its specific beauty and insanity. And doesn’t that kind of defeat the purpose of a movie like this?

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about what the film is trying to say about New York. Are the vignettes' take on the city surprising? Interesting?

  • The characters connect on many different levels, but do any of them seem realistic and/or believable?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:October 16, 2009
DVD/Streaming release date:February 2, 2010
Cast:Ethan Hawke, Natalie Portman, Robin Wright
Directors:Allen Hughes, Brett Ratner, Mira Nair
Studio:Vivendi
Genre:Drama
Run time:110 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language and sexual content

This review of New York, I Love You was written by

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Teen, 16 years old Written byYanniBoo April 25, 2010
I feel this film was okay. But does give a positive outlook on finding love in The City
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Great messages
Parent of a 16 year old Written byzaidsm October 25, 2009