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New York, You Deserve Better

But Natalie Portman shines in new film

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We happened to catch a screening last night of New York, I Love You, the new anthology movie coming out later this month from the producers of Paris, je t’aime, and, well, we can’t say we loved it. For one thing, it’s upsetting to see characters in a movie light up inside a bar, something real New Yorkers haven’t been able to do in years (or not, at least, without getting scolded for trying). For another, we can’t say that watching a teenage boy screw his paraplegic prom date—who has suspended herself from a tree in Central Park for the purpose, after leaving the party at Tavern on the Green—bears any resemblance to anything we’ve ever heard of happening in real life. (But thanks for the idea, Brett Ratner!)

Thankfully, the brief segment starring Natalie Portman as a Hasidic diamond broker—and bride-to-be—who has a brief romantic fantasy about the Jain diamond merchant she deals with in Midtown is one of the few that made sense, and that reflected something real about the city. (It makes a difference that the director, Mira Nair, actually lives in New York.) Plus, Portman dresses up both as a Satmar bride, and a Bollywood one—though we’ve seen that trick before. She may wind up looking roughly like she always does on-screen—that is to say, gorgeous—but paired with Slumdog Millionaire star Irrfan Khan, she manages to open a little window into the awkwardness of reconciling the cloistered insularity of the Hasidic world with the cosmopolitan noise of the New York we love.

New York I Love You [Web site]

Previously: Extra Specialist

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New York, You Deserve Better

But Natalie Portman shines in new film

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