Clear Blue Tuesday Strips 9/11 of Any Cultural/Political Meaning


Pretentious profiles in post-9/11 grief and confusion, Clear Blue Tuesday manages the not-inconsiderable feat of insulting both the memory of the World Trade Center attacks and the musical genre. Elizabeth Lucas’s indie charts (symbolism alert!) 11 fictional New Yorkers on seven September Tuesdays over seven years as they grapple with the romantic, professional, and psychological fallout of the Towers’ destruction—with some musical numbers thrown in. Largely refusing to mention or address the attack directly, Lucas strips the downtown tragedy of any larger cultural/political meaning in an attempt to cast it as merely a looming specter that spawned amorphous Manhattanite unhappiness. All of them grating stick figures, Lucas’s disparate individuals wallow in cursorily defined misery, from the wannabe-writer still obsessed with his deceased girlfriend, to the “sci-fi harpist” desperately seeking nerd love, to the sad elderly woman injured during the attacks. With plotting that trades only in dreary signifiers and one-note emotional dynamics, the proceedings are glib. And the film’s listlessly choreographed singer-songwriter numbers—featuring watery tunes in the style of, among others, Lenny Kravitz, Sarah McLachlan, and Billy Joel—prove too generic to infuse its characters with depth (and vice versa). Once this most certainly is not.