A young woman struggles to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed folk singer, when a brash New York writer forces her to confront her loss and the ambiguous circumstances of his death.
Hannah (Hall) is beginning to move on with her life after the death of her husband, an acclaimed musician and the subject of her latest biography, when she meets Andrew (Sudeikis), a brash writer from New York, who has a different take on her husband's life - and death. The unlikely pair must collaborate to put together the famous singer's story and begin to write the next chapter of their lives.Written by
The Tascam 4-track "Portastudio" cassette deck seen in this film was a revolutionary device, allowing a musician to record three tracks, mix them to the fourth track and then add more tracks. It supported external guitar-style effects processors, had a variable speed control for tuning and special effects, and you could even flip the tape for reverse recording. Originally introduced in 1979, it later evolved in to the current digital version. This would have been an ideal tool for the songwriter in this movie, as it was heavily used for demos. It could also be used for creating fully-produced elaborate arrangements as advanced as the Beatle's four-track system in their day. In fact, Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska album was actually created on one. See more »
The mixing equipment in the late husband's shed, while passable for a band, was far more elaborate than would have been necessary for the music heard in the film, as (except for the "lost" song, which had a touch of piano) it was just solo acoustic guitar and solo voice. See more »
On The Land Blues
Written by Damien Jurado
Performed by Damien Jurado and Barry Uhl
Produced by Gary Mula, and Barry IJhl
Brown Coat Music BMI
Damien Jurado appears courtesy of Secretly Canadian & House of Hassle, by Arrangement with Bank Robber Music See more »
Grief therapy and redemption
Greetings again from the darkness. If I find myself three minutes into a movie and have already executed a couple of eye-rolls, any hopes for a decent little Romantic-Comedy-Drama would ordinarily be dashed. However, having Rebecca Hall's character narrate her writing efforts as she taps away on the keyboard, actually does serve the story. The first feature from director Sean Mewshaw and his screen writing wife Desiree Van Til takes advantage of a beautiful setting, a slew of contrasts, and some heartfelt music to keep us interested in how things plays out.
Ms. Hall plays Hannah, the grieving young widow who has stashed herself away in a lakefront cabin located in the rural Maine community in which she was raised. Her grief remains burdensome some two years after the tragic death of her husband Hunter Miles – a folk singer whose only album (and subsequent death) created a public mystique and a defensiveness on the part of Hannah to protect and control his legacy.
As a Ph.D from Brown, periodic contributor to the local newspaper, and soul mate of Hunter, Hannah undertakes the writing of his biography in the shadow of the studio monument that continues to expand with trinkets left at his gravesite by a cult of fans paying respect. Griffin Dunne plays her friend and owner of the local bookstore and publisher of the newspaper. His less than enthusiastic critique of her early pages of the biography correspond with the vigorous pursuit by a Hofstra Pop Culture Professor with a book publishing deal who wants to make Hunter a key element of his new project.
Jason Sudeikis plays Andrew, and his fast-talking big city mannerisms don't initially mesh so well with the hyper-sensitive and protective grieving widow. The two spar like brother and sister, and the initial adversarial relationship means only one thing in the movie world romance is in the air. Fortunately, the focus on telling the story of Hunter acts as a form of grief therapy for Hannah and a bit of redemption of spirit for Andrew. Of course, the path to enlightenment is not simple for either. Hannah's "friend with benefits" is a hunky local power company worker played by Joe Manganiello ("True Blood"), and Andrew's big city music industry girlfriend is played by Dianna Agron ("Glee"). But as you would expect, the biggest obstacle faced by the two leads is their own stubbornness.
We learn the most about Andrew and Hannah when they are around others. An Easter luncheon with Hannah's family is especially insightful. Her parents are played by Blythe Danner and Richard Masur, and as viewers we long for more scenes featuring these two characters (and terrific actors). We sense that these parents see right through Andrew and Hannah. Can Hannah let down her guard so that she can move on with life? Can Andrew quell his ambition so that the emotional connection takes place?
Beautifully shot (with British Columbia substituting for Maine), the aspect of nature plays a role in contrasting country girl with city boy, and it's the accidental discovery of a long lost song that highlights the stark difference in motives while also being the impetus for change. Hunter's original music is heard throughout the film, and it's actually Damien Jurado whose singing and songwriting add an element of intrigue and realism. Hannah, as narrator, states "In the middle, we feel like it's never going to end." While that may be true for many romance movies, the filmmakers here avoid the "too cute" moments that spoil most in this genre and impressively overcome those early eye-rolls.
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