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Miranda Presley moves from New York to Nashville to become a song writer. At an unsuccessful audition she meets James Wright a promising newcomer. After only a few days they marry, head over heels, but start to regret it very soon. Written by
Matthias Scheler <firstname.lastname@example.org>
1993's "That Thing Called Love" failed miserably at the box office but it's a pretty solid drama about 20-somethings trying to make it in the country music business in Nashville, where the film was shot. The story revolves around Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis), fresh from New York City; Connecticut cowboy Kyle (Dermot Mulroney); ditzy but genuine Southern belle Linda Lue (Sandra Bullock); and the bursting-with-creative-energy-and-confidence James Wright (River Phoenix).
A few country stars have cameos, like Trisha Yearwood and Pam Tillis.
The film isn't redneck-y at all; the people are genuine and likable, if sometimes annoying. The movie has a hip flair and is filled with newer country music (for 1993, that is). Aside from trying to make it in the music business the story naturally revolves around Kyle and James' attraction to Miranda and their ensuing rivalry. The cool thing is that the film never cops a meanspirited vibe, despite one brawl; the viewer gets the impression that these are good, talented people who will remain friends no matter what.
What makes the film truly worthwhile is the magnetic performance of River Phoenix, who was 22 years-old during filming. His face looks almost exactly like Quorthon of Bathory, if you're familiar with that obscure metal band. River easily exudes the brooding charisma of Marlon Brando, no kidding. Unfortunately, three and a half months after the release of "That Thing Called Love" River was found dead outside an L.A. nightclub due to an overdose. He was 23.
FINAL WORD: "That Thing Called Love" may not be a great country music film like "Coal Miner's Daughter" but it's pretty solid and highlighted by the brooding charisma of River Phoenix. He was great and it's a pity he died so prematurely.
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