’m Not There
Directed by Todd Haynes (R)
Six actors embody the changing faces of Bob Dylan and the transient moods of his music.
Inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan, I’m Not There is as “fascinating and inexhaustible” as one of his best songs, said A.O. Scott in The New York Times. Haynes enlisted six actors—none of them named Bob Dylan—to embody the musician’s ever-changing personas. Their stories weave and collide to create an “incandescent rebus” of a biopic that invites endless analysis and insight into Dylan lore. “At once teasingly arcane
and bracingly plain-spoken,” Todd Haynes’ film could be seen as an obsessive fan letter. But no one could fathom cutting a verse from “Visions of Johanna” or trimming “Desolation Row,” and “I would not subtract a minute of this movie, or wish it any different.” Regardless of how much you know about Dylan, I’m Not There will “deepen and humanize your understanding,” said Anthony DeCurtis in The Chronicle of Higher Education. Haynes’ visionary film is immersed in Dylanology and will become “a significant rite of passage” for anyone consumed by the man and his music. The film is a “feast for the eyes and the ears,” said Peter Travers in Rolling Stone. But despite hallucinogenic cinematography and a rich soundtrack filled with original recordings and covers, Haynes’ film is ultimately as tantalizingly inscrutable as the artist himself. We’re left “chasing Dylan’s shape-shifting shadows,” once again. All that remains is the music—which seems only fitting.
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