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amazon.co.uk

Drew Baylor is a young man working at a shoe company in Oregon, similar to Nike. One day he gets a brilliant idea for a new athletic shoe. It was aerodynamically designed, like a sting ray gliding through water, and was suppose to feel like walking on a cloud. His boss had such faith in him that he put almost everything on the line for this new shoe design. Instead of success, it ended up being a billion dollar fiasco for the company. Drew is fired and is forced to take the blame for the failure. Feeling despondent, he plans to commit suicide, but gets interrupted by a phone call. His sister informs him that their father has died while visiting family in Elizabethtown, Kentucky. The two sides of their family have never gotten along, so Drew alone heads to Kentucky to represent his mother and sister. He is to take charge of the funeral arrangements, have his father cremated, and bring him home.

On the red eye flight to Kentucky he meets Claire Colburne, a perky flight attendant who lives in Louisville. Since Drew is about the only person on the plane, she strikes up a conversation with him. She asks him why he's going to Elizabethtown, but he does not tell her of his father's death. Claire writes down some directions for him, and then lets him get some sleep. She sees the suit that he has brought to bury his father in, and realizes that his father has died, but says nothing to him. The next morning she sees him off the plane, and seems to be concerned for him, as well as intrigued.

After taking some wrong turns, Drew finally arrives at the funeral home in Elizabethtown. He meets his cousin Jesse, who takes him to his father who is lying in wake. Drew is in a bit of a daze, and just stares at his father. The depth of what has happened has not yet hit him. Drew then meets the rest of his father's family and friends at his Aunt Dora's house. Drew is overwhelmed at all these eccentric people he does not know, but who loved his father and who welcome him with open arms. They do not know about his failure with his shoe design, and treat him like a conquering hero.

Later that night at the hotel, Drew wants to talk about his experience with someone. With his mother and sister not answering the phone, he calls the only other person he can think of, Claire. Drew opens up to her, tells her of his father, and they end up having an all night phone conversation, talking about everything. Claire talks about her boyfriend Ben, who isn't around much. Drew mentions that he has never really seen the US, but had always planned to take a road trip with his father. Claire convinces him that he must take a road trip home when he leaves Kentucky.

They are still on the phone in the early morning, so they decide to drive and meet each other halfway. They watch the sun come up, and when they part, Drew believes that he will never see her again. Later Claire surprises Drew by showing up at his hotel. She has switched flights with a friend so she can be with Drew. She helps him pick out an urn for his father, and they spend the rest of the day together. Later at night, they almost kiss, but hesitate. Claire says that now they actually have a chance of being friends, for the rest of their lives.

One night Claire shows up at Drew's hotel and they finally give in to their feelings for each other. Drew tells Claire that she deserves someone better than Ben. The next morning, Claire leaves the hotel while Drew is still asleep. Drew wakes up to find her gone, and runs outside to catch her right before she gets into her car. Claire tells him that she doesn't care about his stupid shoe failure, that none of that matters. It doesn't make him who he is.

Claire shows up the funeral banquet for Drew's father, and hands him a very special map for his road trip home. It contains unique places to visit, all set to music that Claire picked out. Drew drives home to Oregon, with his father's ashes in the passenger seat. He stops at the places Claire has chosen, and scatters his father's ashes along the way, at all the places they should have gone together while he was alive. While driving, Drew is finally hit by the death of this father. He cries for the first time, releasing the pain and grief of his loss.

One of the stops on his road trip is a farmer's market. There he receives a note to meet Claire, if he so chooses. He runs to where he is to meet her, and looks around with happiness to greet her. He cannot find her, and after a while, his smile fades and he is standing in the crowd feeling defeated. But then he sees her from a distance, and they run to each other and embrace.

Drew's journey is over, and he has learned that life goes on. He gets a new lease on life and is reminded about what is really important to him. Happiness is not measured by fleeting success. It's the people in life that you meet on the long road home.

(Bio by Sarah, Jennifer and Caitlyn)

Quotes

"The movie... begins with an ending and ends with a beginning. It's about a guy who has lived his life for success, the moments of momentary happiness. To be the best. His career and his work and his girlfriend is the hot girl at work and his friends are all work related and his family life has drifted away from him as it's become all about the guy who's gonna be THE guy. And he's given free rein in the company to design this shoe that'll be like the new Nike Air Max or something. It's released into the world to a sort of roar of laughter and humiliation for the company. So he's a guy who has had everything and lived on this top level. The success of the family." - Orlando, joblo.com, August 29, 2005

"Do I ever feel like I'm on the edge of a fiasco? Totally. I think probably most actors do. You think this is going to disappear any minute. It's like when Drew designs the shoe he thinks is going to create magic, and then suddenly the reality is that the rug is being pulled out from under him." - Orlando, thestar.com, September 12, 2005

"I love this guy. I love the journey he goes on. It's a story we can all relate to, in terms of success and failure and the momentary happiness in life. What really makes people tick? What really makes them understand life?" - Orlando, mtv.com, September 2005

"I gotta tell ya, as a Brit, I've experienced New York, Los Angeles, Miami, I've been to the big cities in America but I never really understood what it meant by the Heartland of America or Southern hospitality. Making this movie, going to locations like Oklahoma City, standing in front of the survivor tree, going to Memphis and standing in front of the Lorraine Motel (where Martin Luther King was shot) or just standing on a beautiful bridge across a river in Arkansas, I was like 'wow, I get it. It's a whole open door policy. People baking cookies and cakes and bringing them to set and giving us ice cream and stuff. It's insane. It takes a lot of love to do all that stuff." - Orlando, teenhollywood.com, October 11, 2005

Images
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Film screencaps
Trailer 1 screencaps
Trailer 2 screencaps

Links
Video and sound clips
Official Web Site
7 minute internet music video
Theatrical Trailer
Pre-production Video
Cameron Crowe's Online Journal
Script Review from ugo.com
Script Review from filmjerk.com
Script Review from tnmc.org
IMDb film page