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James Badge Dale
After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life - a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted - not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom - a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician - that she's forced to examine her motivations. Is the "Songcatcher," as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their ...Written by
Sujit R. Varma
The picture is partially loosely based on English folk song collector Cecil J. Sharp who is characterized in the film as Professor Cyrus Whittle (Steven Sutherland). The movie is also partially loosely based on the musical work of Olive Dame Campbell, who was the Founder of "The John C. Campbell Folk School" in Brasstown, North Carolina. See more »
Kudzu is shown growing in the forest. Kudzu was introduced into Appalachia in the 1930s from Japan to slow erosion. Kudzu would not have been present during the period this movie covers. (Keeping in mind, of course, that in order to produce a film about the Appalachians WITHOUT the kudzu would of course require filming in another region, as to date there have been very few if any successful attempts at denuding their fast-paced growth.) See more »
See, that's what you outlanders don't understand. Life is for enjoying, not just getting and working, and getting and working.
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Thank you to the people of Western Mountains of North Carolina. See more »
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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