I'm Not There

I'm Not There

(2008)

An experimental biography of Bob Dylan, employing six different actors to embody the illusive, enigmatic singer-songwriter - including Cate Blanchett, Heath Ledger, Richard Gere and Christian Bale.... More

A young, Bob (Marcus Carl Franklin), in 1959, rides the rails '30s-styles and identifies himself as a Woody Guthrie. He is admired for his talent wherever he travels, until he is upbraided one day by a wise lady who admonishes him to "live in your own time". And so, he (now Bale) moves to Greenwich Village, New York and takes the scene by storm with the likes of The Times They Are A-Changin. He (now Ledger) moves on to star in a Hollywood film called Grain of Sand, and gets married to Claire (Charlotte Gainsborough). Then, Bob (now Blanchett in a mult-award winning performance) tours England, and starts to play with his guitar plugged in. In Britain he meets Allen Ginsberg (David Cross) and the Beatles, begins to stray from his wife, and deals with a crafty journalist trying to expose him as a fraud.Hide

Flicks Review

The musical bio-pic is experiencing a resurgence as of late. Ray, Walk the Line and La Vie En Rose have all collected Oscars for their principle cast members, while the first two grossed heavily at the box office. The next film of this ilk to emerge is I’m Not There, maybe the most eagerly awaited of them all. For a start, the subject is Bob Dylan who has a following of fans and pop-cultural significance matched only by maybe a Lennon or Presley. Furthermore, Todd Haynes, who comes with a reputation of creative individuality (evidenced by his decision to portray Dylan with a range of actors, the facet that has drawn the film the most attention) helms the piece.

All the actors utilised acquit themselves well and through this device Dylan is successfully portrayed as a complex individual who went through many personal changes. Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of mid 60’s folk-rock era Dylan has garnered the most praise and it is all justified. Her performance is more than a ‘butch it up’ gimmick, she captures his mannerisms expertly and is also convincing in portraying the broadest range of emotions demanded of any cast member. Heath Ledger shows what a massive loss he is to the movie going public, whilst Christian Bale was impressive in the shorter amount of screen time he was allowed. Meanwhile, the child actor (Marcus Carl Franklin) who played Woody Guthrie almost upstages all his more well-known cast members.

Todd Haynes supplements the fine acting with almost every cinematic trick in the book. Most are them are effective in giving the film an adventurous visual quality, with only the mockumentary sequences falling short of the mark. A friend suggested they were reminiscent of folk music comedy A Mighty Wind and in retrospect I think he was right, which is a significant drawback when the moments in question were intended as deadly serious.

Somehow, the film as a whole is less than the sum of its admittedly impressive parts. Part of this may be due to the story it tells. It wanders from episode to episode without a strong progression of events, which becomes an issue the further we go into the two hours plus running time. It is a long film, and by the end it seems like it is being dragged out for no particular reason. Added to this is the desire to recreate, even reinforce, the mythology that surrounds Bob Dylan. It is more concerned with preserving his aura than telling the audience anything about the man, a desire that could have been satisfied with a briefer piece of work.

Dylan’s legion of fans will no doubt herald it as an artistic triumph. The casual viewer, however, may be left impressed by the craftsmanship but wondering what exactly was the point of I’m Not There.


The Peoples' Reviews

Average ratings from 6 ratings, 7 reviews
Your rating & review
Rate / Review this movie

it sh1ts me how people can rate this movie, yyyyyyyyyyy do u people have a clue? the most jibberish filled, incoherent, dogs breakfast of a movie of all time, when it finished the whole theatre breathed a collective/ huuuuuge sigh of relief when it finished and old ladies where using capsicum spray get to the exit first. i guarantee you will want to kill yourself via a lethal injection of draino when (if you can sit through it) youve finished watching it. never before will you be completely and... More utterly baffled by the use of '6 bob dylans' none of which look the same (1 is a 6yo black boy set in the 1800s and one is richard gere set in the 1700s in a town with effing circus animals running round!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!). no connections are made between the 6 characters either you just sit there dribbling into your popcorn wondering why the director keeps flashing between the characters at random intervals (usually < 1 minute) and how a bunch of semi respectable actors could basically lend there name to a script which was obviously written as follows: 6yo bob dylan (nobody is called bob dylan in the movie BTW) picks up his hat and begins walking towards a door. flash to richard gere riding a giraffe from out the front of a wild west salloon. flash to cate blanchett in the back of a car looking out the window etc. etc. and the dialogue holyyyyyyyyy s, the dialogue is basically as random as the scene changes. i you found this movie good, please, oh please send me the address of your dealer/ your doctor who preformed your lobotomy you peanut
Cheers bloodninjaHide


This is a beautiful movie. Cate Blanchett is brilliant and does justice to the 1960's Dylan in the Pennebaker documentary. The Dylan in this film is an enigma like Dylan himself. That's the point. It's creative and provocative. It's not a bio pic.


I was blown away! A stunning film, filled to the brim with talent, great cinematography and enjoyment!
Amazing! You'll never see a better version of Dylan than Cate Blanchett!


this movie was wonderful , the portraying aspects of dylans personas and life's events through different film grades was aesthetically pleasing , and the actors and actresses performances were top notch , special mention of cate blancett's performance whose likeness to dylan was uncanny . for those thinking of seeing this movie for a full biography of a musicians life like what walk the line did , this is probably not the movie for you it is more poetic and is created to evoke not inform.


The elliptical tracks can bore or lose you too easily. But it beats Ray by a mile.


Showing 5 of 7 reviews. See all reviews

The Press Reviews

  • I'm Not There may have been ''inspired by the music and many lives of Bob Dylan'' and certainly this filmic experiment will add to the mythologising of the singer, but sadly it fails to be inspiring of anything other than weariness over more than two hours. Fascinating for big Dylan or Todd Haynes fans only. Full Review

  • An extraordinary attempt to encapsulate the many faces of Bob Dylan that plays better to the convert than the sceptic. Like the nasal twang of the man in question, the film finally beguiles more than it irritates. Full Review

  • What Haynes has essentially done is create a film that is a Bob Dylan song, one of his best. Full Review

  • The film's non-linear structure and the haunting, brilliant final shot announce that this is neither biography nor documentary. It's a exhilarating, poetic rumination on the most enigmatic, charismatic figure in modern music. And, like any Dylan album you want to name, it is a work of at least partial mastery. Full Review

  • So what if nothing is revealed. Todd Haynes is a mischievous visionary who puts the music and the myth of Bob Dylan before us in I'm Not There and dares us not to revel in the troubadour's poetic, contentious, ever-changing essence. It's a feast for the eyes, the ears and the Dylanologist scratching around our minds and hearts. Full Review

  • A fascinating work for cinema and Bob Dylan fans alike. Haynes has painted a perfect picture tribute to the musical icon that only misses a beat in the final quarter. One actor simply couldn’t do the man justice... Full Review