Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist

Let me start out by saying that, up until this point, I had avoided watching this movie for a couple of reasons: I haven’t read the book, and was turned off by the reviews of it by people who had read the book and were disappointed by the movie, and because of the sort of meh reviews from others who hadn’t read the book. Also, I don’t know much about the indie music scene, or really any other music scene, and wasn’t really sure there would be much there in the movie for me to relate to.

I was wrong. There was plenty for me to relate to, I just had to wait until the end of the film to find it.

I won’t say that this was a fantastic movie, because it wasn’t. The first half of it sort of coasts by on the sweet, sort of mellow energies of Michael Cera and Kat Dennings, which is sort of fun to watch, if you like Michael Cera and Kat Dennings. If not, there isn’t much else there to keep a viewer’s interest. It’s during this portion of the film that the aimless nature of the plot — Where’s Fluffy? Where’s Caroline? — seems to pull the film down.

Later, when Dennings and Cera start to get on a little better together, and we start to learn a little more about what makes their characters so much more grown up than any of their friends, the aimlessness of the plot begins to make more sense and becomes an asset instead of a liability. As the main characters come together, everything else seems to as well, which draws a satisfying little parallel there.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist is a sort of love letter to that strange stage we reach during our Senior year of high school, when our options seem to diminish even as new ones open up all around us, and when we’re asked to look to the future to the possible detriment of the moment we’re in. Norah’s on-again-off-again boyfriend is using her for her father’s recording studio, while Nick’s off-again-on-again girlfriend is using him for the attention he’s willing to give her; Norah has to choose between a job in the music business, which she’s afraid will damage her love for the music, and college, while Nick has to choose between pining away for his cheating ex and fully participating in his own life. These are difficult decisions, and while we don’t get direct confirmation of the choices we might like these characters to make, the film does give us closure by reinforcing the idea that the path taken towards making those choices is ultimately just as important as the choices themselves.


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