My New York Year: Review
My New York Year: Review. By Julius Tabel.
Starring Margaret Qualley and a great Sigourney Weaver, this film is about an aspiring writer who finds a job in a literature agency on her stay in New York. Her job is to read letters for legendary and retired writer J.D. Salinger, and because of them, she is inspired to write, but struggles with love and ideas.
“My New York Year” is overall very solid with a disappointing first half, but a good development that rounds up the story very well. It fails to fully convince because of some missed chances and too easy decisions. Nevertheless, in its own style, which needs getting used to, it is always entertaining, but yet not very relatable.
First, for a film called “My New York Year” there are only few New York-moments. This is the first missed factor. A girl in her twenties in a big city struggling to find a home and a true partner; It felt like it wanted to establish a kind of “Frances Ha” atmosphere, but never quite went for it. And so, things were left unexplained and unused. Joanna ́s (Qualley) boyfriend is suddenly there without any depiction of true love. This makes her character very raw at first, and it might be already too late when things get turned around.
Overall, the first half is very flat. Things and even feelings are explained by breaking the 4th wall with narration, and I don ́t even listen to that anymore. When will filmmakers finally learn that narration is not a good stylistic device in most cases? Nonetheless, this is also a turning aspect. When Joanna reads the letters that admire the withdrawn writer, the writers present them straight into the 4th wall. This might first be annoying, but to be honest, you will get used to this, and at the end, this writing atmosphere becomes very authentic. If you are a fan of literature or not, like me, I think that everybody will adapt to the film ́s atmosphere.
But atmosphere isn ́t all. The movie tries to inspire without success. You can feel a depressive mood, but not the necessary melancholia. In one scene, Claude Debussy ́s “Clair de Lune” is played, and this is the only dreamy moment. Besides, “My New York Year” tries to achieve an expression on the viewer, but doesn ́t succeed. However, the story still turns out to be all right.
Joanna gains new traits, and we discover her struggling, naïve, and envious sides. The way I see it though, it was already too late. The character became so unrelatable and her unrealistic actions in the first half even made her partly unlikable. Finally, you will be able to accept her development, but you will never fall in love with her, as the story ends in an unsatisfying way.
But first, I have to mention Weaver ́s character. She is Joanna ́s strict boss and while she might be the typical severe and boring superior, Weaver brings much personality to the role. It is truly entertaining to watch her. This may be irritating since the viewer actually should feel with Joanna when she interacts with Weaver ́s character, but because of good dialogue and awesome deliverance, things feel very one-sided, but still authentic.
The story will for sure never bore you. That ́s perhaps the movie ́s biggest strength. Over the course, the plot featured a kind of suspense by hiding the character of J.D. Salinger. I think that this might intrigue some people and be a very strong part. This way, you will be able to like the ending, although it basically takes off into nowhere without telling the audience a true direction.
Nevertheless, “My New York Year” is a good film to watch. It might be a bit flat at the beginning, but if you give it time to develop, then you will enjoy it and feel the positivity.
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