Songcatcher (2000) Poster

(2000)

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8/10
I'm not drunk, I'm... celebrating.
lastliberal31 August 2007
What is life for? That's a question that many people throughout the ages have asked. There is no question in the mind of Tom Bledsoe (Aidan Quinn). Life is for enjoying. His idea of enjoying is playing music and drinking corn liquor. I don't know if I can argue with that.

Neither could Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer), Doctor of Musicology, who came up into the mountains to visit her sister Elna (Jane Adams), and discovered music that had not been heard by "outlanders" in hundreds of years. Songs that were originally written in Ireland and Scotland and hidden in the Apppalatian Mountains. She discovered that there was indeed culture among those whom the outlanders considered ignorant, inbred hillbillies, and she was determined to capture and share that culture.

In the process, she learned what life was really all about. It was a beautiful, tender story about people and differences; like the reaction over the discovery of her sister's partner, Harriet (E. Katherine Kerr).

The music was awesome, and this was Emmy Rossum's first movie. I loved her in The Phantom of the Opera, The Day after Tomorrow, and Mystic River; and now add another great performance to the list. I wasn't inclined to see Posiden, but I will make it a point now to see her again.

I have to end with a note about Pat Carroll, who played Viney Butlet. Her career is is old as i am and I am sure that I have probably seen her many times over the years and not known who she was. I will not forget now, as she was the most interesting character in the movie. Brava!
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10/10
Music (Maker) Lover's Delight
Bob Stein, VisiBone12 October 2007
Beautiful music, and even more beautiful portrayal of a music-lover. The main character Lily's love oozes off the screen and shames everyone who's ever made a tape or CD music collection with far less effort and trial -- and persistence. No less beautiful is the love that catches fire between the leads, and where it takes them.

If you believe music, not to mention love, should be near the helm of your ship, you will savor the textures of this surprisingly fine home-made wine of a story. If you've also ever loved simple folk music, then that will be sinfully delicious icing on the cake. Hat's off to the crew for this very-obviously (and satisfyingly successful) labor of love.
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10/10
Honest view of Appalachia circa early 1900's
frankie_time1 September 2006
This movie accomplishes many things within the premise of "Songcatching". The movie exposes the hardships, ignorances, prejudices, resourcefulness, intelligence, commonsense and heart of the people who remained out of touch with "progress".

The movie has some graphic and controversial scenes; but the majority is appropriate for all ages.

The way the folk music is in-twined in the lives of the local people is magical and authentic. I wish a sound track was available with the full versions of the "collected" songs in the original voices of the actors, in the same simplistic way they were produced for the movie.

This is a movie I have enjoyed on many occasions and look forward to future viewings. I have purchased the DVD.
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a major movie for grownups
stuhh200120 January 2002
Finally, a movie that does not insult your intelligence. No anorexic Barbie dolls, or exploding cars, so beloved by the 100% red blooded American male. Aidan Quinn, who I could "take or leave" in previous performances delivers a masterful performance, in my opinion. Janet Mcteer whose character is the "glue", holding the story together, also justifies her selection for this role. But the "revelation" of the film, is the performance of Pat Carroll as Viney Butler. If this isn't Academy Award level acting then I haven't learned anything in over fifty years of filmgoing. The only way I remember her, is as a sometime guest on the Jack Paar show. I have not seen her act ever. I had no idea I was watching Pat Carroll untill I glanced at the box the video came in. I was incredulous! Completely gone was any characteristic of Pat Carroll, and in her place was this mountain woman, surviving for about seventy years in an enviornment that would give most of us nervous breakdowns. Pat, this role is truly your magnum opus! God bless you.
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Music is life...........
Robinson Almanzar20 January 2002
Songcatcher is a fantastic film about understanding culture and people throughout the beauty of music and the poetry of songs. Every beat and word represents something that in many ways is so personally related to people's lives, history and emotions.

This is the lovely story of Dr. Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer) a preeminent teacher musician who impulsively decides to run to visit her sister at a struggling rural school in the Appalachia, right after being denied of an anticipated promotion where she teaches. Over there (in the mountains) she founds a new meaning to her life by finding love and discovering very culturally important Scott-Irish ballads that she might use to save her promotion.

The whole cast performances are awesome, especially Janet McTeer who comes back with another tremendous performance and Aidan Quinn who hasn't been this good so far.

Writer/director Maggie Greenwald gives us a very fresh and tender story that describes so well all characters, situations with the very real and touching concept of music.

Finally, but not the least, David Mansfield music is fantastic. He amazingly takes excellent care of every musical detail related to the lives of these beautiful characters.

Robinson Almanzar.
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Lovely homage to Applachian song, plus great character work
Jim Chevallier11 February 2001
Just saw this tonight as part of the Spirit Awards showings. A nice surprise, since I spend long hours listening to Alan Lomax's field recordings of mountaineers singing old ballads when I was at Bard College - and later parlayed that experience into a radio job, hosting a traditional music show.

That aspect alone should make anyone loves this music run to see the show. It's reproduced with great authority, and a lot of chestnuts which haven't been heard in Pop culture since Joan Baez are played much as they must have been when first heard: "Matty Groves", "Barbry Allen", "I Wish I Was Single Again", etc. The castng overall is superb - Janet McTeer is a unique and believable presence; Pat Carroll delightful as a mountain matriarch; Aiden Quinn his charming, virile self.

The plot is acceptable, if not 100% believable - several of the (discreet) sexual situations peppered throughout seem much colored by modern attitudes. Especially the reckless bit of carelessness which leads to one of the key catastrophes in the film. And these backwoods people are just a LITTLE too understanding on the issue involved.

On the other hand, several obvious threads veer into surprising directions - the ending being one of them. And the glimpse of Appalachian life will be a revelation to many.

Not to mention the music. Lots and lots of wonderful music. Including Emmy Lou Harris' (NOT Dolly Parton's) closing number over the credits.

Jim Chevallier North Hollywood, CA
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7/10
Beautiful Music
oneshortkat22 December 2005
Songcatcher is a film that shows the side of the mountain people that has been unknown for years. It's kind of like an indie, female version of Oh Brother Where Art Thou, but with a feminist touch and more and better music. The film is very enjoyable with some exceptional acting particularly in the case of Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn and Emmy Rossum and features some lovely and moving renditions of classic ballads. Maggie Greenwald (The Ballad of Little Jo, for which she wrote and directed) is also both the director and writer of Songcatcher and she has done a fabulous job. The film's focus is on musicologist Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer) in the early 1900s who has just been passed over for a permanent teaching position for the second time. She becomes embittered and decides to leave the school and go to the mountains to visit her sister (Jane Adams) at her school in the mountains of North Carolina. There she learns, to her delight, that many of the old Irish/Scottish ballads have been preserved in their original form, after hearing them sung by her sister's warden Deladis Slocumb (the always delightful Emmy Rossum). After hearing Deladis sing these ballads Lily becomes obsessed with collecting and publishing the songs. With the help of Deladis and her boyfriend Fate Honeycutt (don't you just love these names) Lily goes around the mountain collecting songs. One of her first stops is at incorrigible Viney Butler (Pat Carroll). While she's there Lily meets Viney's grandson Tom Bledsoe (a nearly unrecognizable Aidan Quinn).

The two clash at first but they eventually become, no surprise, romantically involved. Along the way we also meet Lily's antagonist Earl Giddens (David Patrick Kelly) who's has been 'educated' down the mountain and wants to turn the mountain in a coal mine. While collecting the songs, Lily slowly begins to crack from her shell and she learns to love the people of the mountain. The photography in the film is spectacular. It's vibrant and bright with some terrific shots of the wizardly Carolina Mountains. Maggie Greenwald brings the beauty of the mountains out with long-range shots at sunset. As I stated earlier the acting in this film is superb so there are no complaints from me. Lily Penleric was played perfectly by Janet McTeer who seems to be able to convey so much emotion through her eyes. Tom Bledsoe was such a different character than I had ever seen Aidan Quinn play before and it was quite refreshing. He was great as a grumbling, dirty yet somehow attractive mountain man. And Emmy Rossum, in her feature film debut, gives a stunning performance as the angelic voiced ward.

The music in the film is probably it's best asset. Greenwald had actual singers and musicians play the musical parts. Iris Dement and Taj Mahal were just two of the musicians in this film and they added an authenticity to the film. All the songs in this movie were amazing and as soon as I saw this film I went out and bought the soundtrack. The only problems I had with the film are that the plot sometimes seemed a little forced, a little contrived and that there were too many subplots. There were probably in total about seven or eight different plot lines weaved in and out throughout the film. In some films this might work but Greenwald doesn't quite pull it off. The lesbian subplot was not needed at all. It actually took away from the authenticity of the film and didn't seem to fit in with the time period, which was the late Victorian era. Overall I would definitely recommend this movie, especially to those that really enjoyed movies like Oh Brother Where Art Thou. This film captivates the beauty of the Carolina Mountains and shows what the music of the mountains is really like.

"Your music is like the air you breathe" Lily Penleric, Songcatcher
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Enchanting story of a professor's mission to record mountain love songs.
TxMike9 August 2007
Warning: Spoilers
Set around the early 1900s, this movie is helped by its use of mainly unknown actors who, however, give very faithful performances.

Brit Janet McTeer is Professor Lily Penleric, doctor of Musicology, and once again is passed over for full professor. Fed up with that, she quits and goes to the mountains of North Carolina to see her younger sister who teaches school in the backwoods.

As soon as she arrives, she finds the mountain folk full of old ballads, which they call 'love songs'. As she hears them, she recognizes many as originating in England 200 or 300 years earlier. Evidently they have been passed down from mothers and grandmothers.

Lily gets a fresh inspiration and decides that all these ballads need to be recorded and published. Some shorter ones she is able to record on an Edison machine with wax cylinders. Others she must just listen to and record lyrics and music on paper.

Emmy Rossum, classically trained singer ('Phantom, 2004) and about 13 during filming, is Deladis Slocumb, who sings many of the songs for Lily.

Aidan Quinn is Tom Bledsoe, local who had been educated off the mountain, but returned there for the simple life and making music.

The movie captured my attention and my imagination from the very first scenes. For anyone who appreciates music and its origins, a very nice movie.
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7/10
Decent film that goes off track
rosscinema23 March 2003
This is for the most part an interesting film but the main problem is how the story seems to veer off track and not pay enough attention to what was interesting in the first place. Director and writer Maggie Greenwald later in the film interjects modern subplots that only serve the audience to rail against the obviousness of those ideas. The things that I liked about this film are the beautiful cinematography of the Appalachian mountains that really enhance the realistic quality of the film and of course the music. The music is the central ingredient in this story and the Scottish and Irish ballads add an indelible flavor that really make it the primary reason to view this film. In fact, musicians Taj Mahal and Iris Dement have roles in this film. Janet McTeer is well cast as Lily the musicologist that is recording these songs. This is definitely a better performance than her Oscar nominated role in a very mediocre and totally overrated film called "Tumbleweeds". She adds intelligence and strength to her character and its vital to the film. The things that I feel hurt the film are the romance between Lily and Tom (Aidan Quinn). It comes out of left field and is never really believable. And then their is the lesbian romance between Lilys sister and her coworker who are teachers. This is where the film wanders off into another direction and the main focus of the film gets lost. We really didn't need these contrivances added to the story and it hurts the film. Not a bad film but the story and focus seem to go into another area. Too bad!
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8/10
Soothing and satisfying.
betybobety28 March 2012
I recently caught the tail-end of this on HBO and had to watch all of it on Netflix.

It is nearly mesmerizing. I think the only flaw I found with it was the beginning. I wanted a longer beginning, so that more contrast would become evident as the movie went on.

Having said that, Songcatcher is sweet and just a bit haunting.

Jane Adams steals this with a elegant and yearning performance. But the performances are all beautiful and slow as a massage without the meter running. I've always like Aidan Quinn and I love that Janet McTeer is not a Kewpie doll someone stuck into a serious film. She's a woman - just as there were once women in movies.

I recommend it highly.
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Maggie Greenwald goes through her checklist.
creegah7 October 2001
It looks like Maggie Greenwald made up a checklist before she made this film. Let's see if all of the obligatory cliches were covered: We had the Lesbian Scene, the Shedding Of Clothes, Clogging, the Romance Between The Virile Mountain Man And The Back East Pedant, the Rich Coal Mine Owner and his Shallow, Snooty Wife, the Stupid Farmer who sells his land at half price, and on and on. Oh, I almost forgot.....the token Black Banjo Player. The only thing missing from this film were a blind fiddle player and a three-legged hound. The story line had no continuity. The scenery was wretched.(You want Western NC scenery? See "Nell". You want Appalachian ambiance? See "Deliverance"). The characters acted like they didn't know what they were supposed to be doing half the time and the ending was horrible. Ms. McTeer is a good actress and the music was fairly good. Which probably saved this entire movie from the cutting room floor. Where it belongs.
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I love everything about this film
shellywilley28 January 2006
I happened upon this film by chance and watched it at first because of the beautiful scenery. Hooked. I watch again every chance I get. Janet McTeer is perfect as the intelligent, suppressed Victorian woman. She plays the stiffly proper role perfectly, even after we have seen her rebellious nature early in the film by her involvement with a married man.

I have always felt that Aiden Quinn has been under appreciated. He shines in this film, as does Pat Carroll in a rare serious role. I disagree with those who call the lesbian storyline a distraction. They didn't TALK about sex during Victorian times, but they sure had it! I had no difficulty believing that two women living together in an environment so foreign to their upbringing would develop a closeness which would lead to a physical relationship.

The traditional music was wonderful, but David Mansfield's original score was incredible. My family has lived in the mountains of West Virginia since the sixteen hundreds, there is a family cemetery on the side of a mountain in the woods. Mansfield's "And the Mountains Cried" playing while the coffin was carried up the hill showed me something that could have been a picture from my family's past. It moved me so much that I sent him an email, telling him what an impact his music, especially that song, made . To my surprise, he replied, thanked me, and included the lyrics.

I loved this film. Wonderful music, beautiful costumes, humor, lust, rebellion, murder, and you can't beat the beauty of the location.

I suspect it's a more accurate portrayal of life at that time and place than most people might think.
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7/10
Interesting Story of Changing Environments !
cshep29 November 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Interesting story of women teachers in mountain setting. Can people change environments and still succeed ? Songcatcher portrays the story of 3 women who try. The story centers around Janet McTeer(Professor Lily Penteric)who finds a treasure of songs, in rural mountain surroundings, and sets out to document them. Excellent performances by Janet McTeer and Aidan Quinn. Maggie Greenwald writes and directs in a slightly less than even-handed effort. The lesbian scenes are more distracting and not original.They do little more than provide filling , for a story that has the potential for having a deeper layered meaning.

Some stereotypes are avoidable, like hillbillies who use fire to purge their demons,like we destroy what we do not accept mentality. Pat Carroll (Viney Butler) is perfect as the mountain matriarch, whom the movie could have showcased, as she can carry the load of the world on her shoulders. All in all, even with the flaws, the music,(if you like country-hillbilly lyrics with a Scottish-Irish origin ), can catch your ear , and there is enough emotion between the two main characters to make a difference. All in all, a good movie experience, that appeals to an adult audience.
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A must see!
sarahsaddy13 June 2004
This movie was extremely moving! I saw it a couple of years ago and it continues to be fresh in my mind. A nice look at a different culture, and some very original folk music! Aidan Quinn was fantastic, it was nice to see him a role that was very original. After we watched the movie we went in search of the soundtrack. The music and lyrics were very haunting, and gave a good look into how life was like for this particular group of people.

If you are looking for a movie that is beautiful, thoughtful, endearing, and is filled with original and stirring music this is a must see for you! Even my boyfriend liked it, and he strays from watching many of these artsy films!
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Music good. Movie - not so good.
Sven30 December 2001
I'd let to get the music out of the way first. Fantastic, wonderful. The singers and other performers were excellent, and serve as a reminder of the great music that comes out of the mountains.

The movie, however, fails to inspire. My impression of the film was that the writer/director wanted to make a movie about mountain music, and proceeded to write dramatic filler. As opposed to "O Brother, Where Art Thou?", where the movie was as entertaining as the music, the drama seems to go nowhere.

One of the subplots, about two lesbians inhabiting the mountain, doesn't seem to have much of a point at all, other than to bring about the ending that the writer wanted. The coal mining company plot was dropped about half-way through the movie. Some scenes - such as when Emmy Rossum's character gets proposed to - seem forced and don't work. In fact, the best way to summarize the dramatic tension in this movie is "forced"; characters do things that they seem to smart to do, just to push the plot along. Examples include the lesbians making love right along a trail, Rossum's boyfriend through most of the movie, or even McTeer's relationship with a married man. I'm reminded of Bela Lugosi's famous line "Pull the string! Pull the string!"

Janet McTeer's character starts out cold; in fact, the actress excels at this to the point that we're wondering if this is why the school doesn't want her to begin with. She's condescending, and while the writer obviously intended for her to warm up during the course of the movie, McTeer doesn't follow through. As a result, our protagonist remains distant throughout the work; her relationship with Aidan Quinn doesn't even make much sense, as he seems a bit too alive to want a relationship with someone that cold. It's unfortunate, since the rest of the actors do a very good job, especially Pat Carroll.

My recommendation is to rent the movie and fastforward, stopping during the singing scenes.
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9/10
Good story, great music
Furzele14 February 2012
We recently found out that friends of ours who share a love of music by real singer-songwriters (say, Richard Thompson or Iris Dement or Loudon Wainwright) had never seen this movie. Hooray, an excuse to watch it again! If for nothing else but the chance to see Iris Dement (the headliner in the cast as far as we're concerned) act as well as sing.

The wonderful contrast between the very white bread muzak version of Barbry Allen at the beginning and the much more human one by the folks who passed it down later on in the film is for me what the movie is all about. Seems to me that several prior reviewers just didn't get it at all, and should repair to their Osmonds-Welk culture bunker to avoid further psychic damage and confusion.
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8/10
A realistic view of the "discovery" of Appalachian music
dancingm18 July 2001
I saw this film at the Sunday Mornings at The Charles film series in Baltimore. It moved me more than any film I saw this last series. I have to admit I come from some Appalachian roots on my dad's side, but only knew of the harshness, as the music wasn't played in our home. Growing up in the DC/Baltimore area we were the logical place for Bluegrass and so-called "mountain music" to migrate, and I've heard it for most of my life. I started listening to it more intently after being influenced by the late Ralph Rinzler, acclaimed musicologist and creator of the Smithsonian Festival of American Folklife.

The film gets jump started by the knee-jerk reaction of an esteemed musicologist who was yet again turned down for tenure -- clearly based on her gender. Her life's work is the folk music of the British Isles and when her departure from academia takes her to her sister's school in western North Carolina she is immediately presented with "her" music in this "backwards" environment. Imagine her surprise. She then turns on her academic engines and decides to collect and publish this wondrous music of the Appalachians.

She is taken to "Songcatchers", or the people who are the preservers of this oral legacy, to learn the songs. It takes her some effort to win their trust, but she gets a recommendation from Pat Carroll's character which gets her through skeptical doors. It takes her a long time to be truly accepted into the community and finally as a "songcatcher" herself. There are about 20 songs performed and I felt they were the true foundation for the film. The drama is always invigorated by them.

Many reviews are critical of the stereotypical characters, but there actually were rich "do-gooders" who made public displays of "educating the mountain savages" and "evil" coal and lumber company operatives who swindled the illiterate landowners. This film's coal company character might seem oversimplified, but he also initiates the most riviting moment of the film when he starts singing "O Death", which is completed by the legendary Hazel Dickens. This moment brought tears to my eyes.

If I have a complaint about this film, it's a little too busy. It tries to deal with lesbianism, untrustworthy men, distrustful and violent mountain people, the harshness of the land and life, a male-dominated community and the music. A couple of these, perhaps the first two, could have been sacrificed to make the rest of the film stronger. This in no way makes the film weak, just that it has room to improve. The performances of Janet McTeer and Pat Carroll stand out, and Aiden Qiinn was good as the mountain man who "had seen the world". The musical performances of Emmy Rossum, Iris Dement and Hazel Dickens made my heart soar.

The film opens in Baltimore this week and I'll be there to see it again. The music is wonderful and worth the trip just for that. I only wish there was more of Emmy Rossum and the other music with that Appalachian "edge" on the soundtrack CD, as opposed to the more highly produced songs by more famous people, whose voices/characters did not appear in the film.
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7/10
Great promise, earnest execution, strange additions
Michael Johnston (ambrose)9 September 2007
Warning: Spoilers
There was beautiful photography but not enough, especially to establish where we were -- mountains, "Southern" mountains? Up the mountain? Which mountain? What railroad? What river? They kept referencing Asheville in the dialogue. I don't think a viewer could tell much about anything without that one reference. Besides, this part of the Southern Appalachians known as the Blue Ridge is famous for its rich and varied gemstones and minerals, even today. The incredible coal veins are found in western Virginia and Kentucky.

Unfortunately, there are a number of inconsistencies. The accents are pretty strongly Tennessee. Emmy did a great job of following the dialect coach but the twang was too strong, the nasality maybe not strong enough, and the diphthongs too broad and even. The music director made it clear that he thought there were "African-American" influences in mountain music. There are not. He got a lot of it right, but he didn't know what to call "Old Time" music (that's what it's called by outlanders) and called clogging flat-foot dancing. But he got a lot else about the music right. The ending 'flip' of ballad phrases is too strong in most of the songs. One singer got it exactly right -- Bobby McMillon, who was the second to sing part of the Conversation with Death. And what's this with Dolly Parton? In the DVD, she's proud to have been a part of it, but she's not in the credits, but she is the soundtrack listing. I'm confused.

I have questions! As far as I was concerned, this could have been a documentary about the music. Why invent a woman to take the part of the collector? Even Greenwald admits this is a fantasy at that time. Forcing an Edison cylinder maker and all the paraphernalia that goes with it into the story is, well, deeply forced and unbelievable. Why add a lesbian romance? If there were such a thing, it would have been hidden so deep the subplot police could never have found it. The panther story about shedding of clothes -- true. They're all but extinct now. Moonshine? True, I've tasted some in Hot Springs. (Raw tasting and it burns!) But it doesn't come out the still like tap water as shown in the scene. The romance that developed between Tom and Lily is totally unbelievable within the scope of the story. The rich coal mine owner and his stooge would never have offered to buy land because there is no coal to mine. They cut out part Taj Mahal's playing. Black people were a rarity in the mountains and they took this chance to illustrate that, so why cut it short? (I guess they had to cut something.) Did you notice the mailman? Do you really believe that some poor mail carrier trudged up the mountain to deliver mail? If they wanted the mail, they went down to the post office to get it, or it didn't get got -- at least until Rural Free Delivery (RFD) was implemented.

The hardest part of all to accept was that nowhere in this film did they find time for even one complete ballad. But I still enjoyed this film because it means well and it gets a lot of what of it started out to do right, though it veers off track a good bit. I had relatives in Weaverville and Leicester and attended school at Mars Hill College in Madison County, the site of the 'discovery' of many of the songs. One of my teachers used to tell us stories of John Jacob Niles.
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3/10
Songs Hide The Real Agenda Of This Film
ccthemovieman-128 May 2007
Janet McTeer plays a 1960s "musicologist: who goes to the Smokey Mountains, loves the music and wants to document it. Along the way to paying tribute to this historic and wonderful mountain music, the story gets sidetrack by one major issue: out-of-control feminist bias.

Hey, you want to make a "chick flick," fine - there are a number of them out there, but don't disguise this agenda by passing it off as some tribute to music, or the mountains.

No, this is out-and-out male bashing, complete with only one decent male character (played by Aiden Quinn), the rest all being unlikeable guys. The women are all wonderful, of course, and we can even see two of them kissing. Oh, wow!!!

Hey, loved the music and the scenery, but this is nothing but a Lesbian propaganda piece and - even worse - it's simply a boring film.
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4/10
Great soundtrack, sub-par story, families beware!
mary_morris-116 December 2004
Warning: Spoilers
*SPOILERS!* When I first saw the preview for this, it looked like a good old fashioned hallmark movie. I love bluegrass music, so I couldn't wait to see it. When we rented the movie, we read the back and it sounded even better. The film was pretty boring for the first half, every now and then a song would be played. Then (i'm embarrassed typing this)a lesbian love seen came in. I that ther was something more then friendship between the teachers but I certainly didn't expect nudity and prolonged make out sessions. I was watching this with my mother and I was quite embarrassed, because I picked this movie. But besides that, it was an okay movie. The acting was fine, the actress who played Deladis was great. To be honest, the soundtrack was the best part of the movie. I don't care to see the movie again but i bought the soundtrack the day after I saw the movie. And there are continuation discs that follow. If I were you, I would skip the movie and just get the music.
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9/10
Two Thumbs Up
clseagle11 October 2005
Warning: Spoilers
When I first saw this movie, I really enjoyed it. The second time I watched it, I really liked it. I think some people may have watched this movie and decided 'hey, it's got some holes - let's pick it apart!' Most movies have holes and little foibles in them. I've seen some really terrible movies (Blade 3 was one of them), but this doesn't qualify as one of those. The music was great, yes. AND the acting was good, too. The music and the scenery, however, were the central characters, but I did not think that the story was so completely flawed as others have said. As for the 'gratuitous lesbian scenes,' I think some reviewers are a little too uptight. It's just a good thing that people can watch a movie and judge for themselves instead of believing in the reviews of hyper-critical movie-goers who seem to have had a bad day all around the day they saw the movie. I thought it was great. That's just my opinion.
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4/10
Mediocre
jtolleson6 July 2006
Visually beautiful with some fine music, this film otherwise has a fairly trite made-for-TV quality. The romance between two characters, which spans a cultural and educational divide, is simply NOT plausible. Of course, from early on we knew our persnickety heroine would lighten up, win over the locals, and find true love, but that doesn't make it any less woeful that the movie had to take such completely expected turns. This film had lots of promise, which makes it more of a shame that the promise was unrealized. Perhaps a nice under-the-blanket on a cold night freebie on cable, but I certainly wouldn't recommend paid rental or purchase. I'm sure the soundtrack is wonderful, though.
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8/10
It's the Music
movies-31831 December 2004
I think we learned about Songcatcher via Netflix about three years ago during the O, Brother Where Art Thou and Down From the Mountain excitement.

As a movie it was lacking something; all the pieces were there but it didn't quite sizzle. The reason for this, I think, was the way they shot the film: it was 'too pretty' and therefore unreal, especially for representing lives in the mountains of North Carolina during the timeframe of the movie, so the viewer was sort of outside looking in.

That said, however, we LOVED the music and the opening up of the roots of mountain music, and that's why I gave it an '8'. There is something so deep and true about that stream of American music, mainly I think because most of it is birthed in hardship. Anyway this movie was one piece of our growing love affair with this sort of music, especially on the mountain gospel side of things, all the way to the present day with Ollabelle, and the Anonymous Four (American Angels).

And to first have encountered Emmy Rossum here and then just recently enjoying her performance in Phantom of the Opera is a real treat. She's got the gifts and I look forward to following her career, especially the development of her acting since her voice already speaks for itself.
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