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Songcatcher (2000)

PG-13 | | Drama, Music | 27 July 2001 (USA)
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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 ... See full summary »

Director:

Maggie Greenwald
5 wins & 5 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Janet McTeer ... Lily Penleric
Michael Davis Michael Davis ... Dean Arthur Pembroke (as Michael Davis)
Michael Goodwin ... Professor Wallace Aldrich
Gregory Russell Cook Gregory Russell Cook ... Fate Honeycutt
Jane Adams ... Elna Penleric
E. Katherine Kerr ... Harriet Tolliver
Emmy Rossum ... Deladis Slocumb
Pat Carroll ... Viney Butler
Stephanie Roth Haberle ... Alice Kincaid
Aidan Quinn ... Tom Bledsoe
Bart Hansard Bart Hansard ... Hilliard
Erin Blake Clanton Erin Blake Clanton ... Polly
David Patrick Kelly ... Earl Giddens
Kristin Hall Kristin Hall ... Isabel
Michael Harding ... Reese Kincaid
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Storyline

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

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Drama | Music

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated PG-13 for sexual content and an intense scene of childbirth | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

27 July 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Coletora de Canções See more »

Filming Locations:

Asheville, North Carolina, USA

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,800,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$41,967, 17 June 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,050,934, 9 September 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

A number of the extras are part of the old time Appalachian music scene in Asheville, NC. This includes dulcimer player Don Pedi, who also hosts an old time music show on WCQS, Asheville's public radio station. Members of the Green Grass Cloggers (and their children), famous ballad singer and activist Hazel Dickens, Iris DeMent, and other top musicians are shown. Ironically, many of the artists featured are responsible for preserving the musical tradition in modern times and represent some of the finest in their craft today. See more »

Goofs

Except for Dexter Speaks, when the other characters play banjo, we hear many more notes than they actually strum. See more »

Quotes

Lily Penleric: Are you drunk?
Tom Bledsoe: I'm not drunk, I'm... celebrating.
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thank you to the people of Western Mountains of North Carolina. See more »


Soundtracks

The Ballad of Barbara Allen
Performed a cappela by Janet McTeer and Emmy Rossum
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User Reviews

Lovely homage to Applachian song, plus great character work
11 February 2001 | by Jim ChevallierSee all my reviews

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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