Song One

MPAA Rating: PG-13

Entertainment: +1

Content: -3

Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn, Mary Steenburgen and Ben Rosenfield. Written & directed by Kate Barker-Froyland.

FILM SYNOPSIS: Oscar® winner Anne Hathaway (Interstellar, Les Miserables) stars as Franny in Song One, a romantic drama set against the backdrop of Brooklyn's vibrant indie music scene. After Franny’s musician brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield, Boardwalk Empire) is injured and hospitalized in a coma following a car accident, Franny returns home after a long estrangement and begins to use his notebook as a guide to how his life has evolved in her absence. Franny seeks out the musicians and artists Henry loved, in the course of her journey meeting James Forester (Johnny Flynn), his musical idol, whose success and fame belie a shy and private man. As a strong romantic connection develops between Franny and James, the question becomes if love can bloom even under the most adverse circumstances.

PREVIEW REVIEW: Looking like an early Liza Minnelli, Anne Hathaway stars in yet another film about a disconnected family coming together after a tragedy. I become somewhat cynical about Hollywood making this subject long ago, as the focus is always on a mournful, pouty protagonist seeking solution or absolution within, without regard for a spiritual redirection from above. Again, Christ and His Heavenly Father are only mentioned in a profane manner in order to relieve frustration.

The actress goes without makeup, the hand-held camera flops left and right (throughout), and of course, the f-word is once again summoned to reflect inner turmoil. Little is new.

There are some screen performers whose persona helps them rise above mediocre material. Anne Hathaway is not one of them. While the actress gave perhaps the best female screen performance of all time in Les Miserables, here she lacks that mystical element that nurtures the talent of great film stars. Her costar Johnny Flynn lacks screen presence of any kind. And Mary Steenburgen is a solid actress, but here we witness her playing the boozy smoker mom so many good actresses play once they reach the age of nips and tucks.

And then there are the songs. This alternative music is a mix of hootenanny and sub-culture folk-fused rock. But mostly it’s just blah. Much like a great deal of church praise/worship jingles, there’s little substance to the lyrics, and even less structure to the music. Like the story and characters, the musical element is shallow. (My opinion.)

DVD Alternative: Tender Mercies. Robert Duvall won an Oscar for his performance as a country singer on the skids until, with the help of a religious widow and her son, he turns his life around. A country minister is depicted with a genuineness seldom seen in the movies. It is rated PG, containing four profanities, but the message is potent, the film uplifting.

Preview Reviewer: Phil Boatwright

The following categories contain objective listings of film content which contribute to the subjective numeric Content ratings posted to the left and on the Home page.

Crude Language: None

Obscene Language: One use of the f-word from the female lead and a few minor expletives.

Profanity: Jesus name is misused at least twice.

Violence: A jolting car accident at the beginning of the film.

Sex: One sexual situation, graphic, but brief.

Nudity: None

Sexual Dialogue/Gesture: None

Drugs: Drinking and smoking.

Other: None

Running Time: 88 minutes
Intended Audience: Older teens and up

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