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Estranged from her family, Franny returns home when an accident leaves her brother comatose. Retracing his life as an aspiring musician, she tracks down his favorite musician, James Forester. Against the backdrop of Brooklyn's music scene, Franny and James develop an unexpected relationship and face the realities of their lives. Written by
Scott Avett of The Avett Brothers auditioned for the role of James Forester. Avett told Rolling Stone that for his audition, he read an emotional scene with Anne Hathaway: "It's an emotional scene, and Anne starts welling up in tears. I was like, 'Oh my God. How is she doing that?' It was obvious to me that I was out of my league." See more »
"Song One" is the musical equivalent of dead air. I've had problems with movies like "Once" and "Begin Again" in the past, so interested in creating ach-y musicals about wounded characters, all to the tune of whiney songs, that they never rise above predictable and dull. And yet I'm tempted to praise those after watching "Song One", a film that seems to have even less conflict, even more sullen-faced characters, and almost no energy to its straight-forward story telling. It's the kind of romance that would make a Kathryn Heigl film look like it was made by Stanley Kubrick.
Anne Hathaway produced this first feature from Kate Barker-Froyland and also stars in it as Franny, a humanitarian called back to New York when her subway-musician brother's accident leaves him in a coma. During her time back, she meets her brother's hero- James Forrester (Johnny Flynn), a musician who hasn't recorded in the five years since his girlfriend left him. He needs inspiration, she needs to forgive her brother for dropping out of college to become a musician. There ya go in a nut shell.
It's a plot so simplistic that Hathaway couldn't even promote the thing on "The Daily Show" last week without giggling. Notice she didn't do that with Les Miserable's Fantine (although "hahaha she loses her job, sings a song with a bunch of tears and snot on her face, then dies hahahaha" would have been hilarious). Anyway, we know where this is all going, James and Franny are nothing more than lost, wandering bores whenever they're not together, a scene where James serenades her unconscious brother is meant to be beautiful but just looks clumsy, and there are no insights, from the creative process to the grieving process, other than both work better with a sex buddy.
Franny is a role that gives Hathaway nothing to do other than practice crying and giving looks of concern. Johnny Flynn is a talented musical performer but that doesn't change the fact that you forget the music, which comes courtesy of Jenny Lewis (from the indie band Rilo Kiley) and her boyfriend Johnathan Rice, almost immediately after it ends. Otherwise he's kinda glum too, unless they're together, in which case sometimes they smile. It's a romance built on almost nothing other than needing whoever is in close proximity. Showcasing some really talented performers around the city, it's too bad "Song" has to keep its proximity closest to these two.
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