"The Thing Called Love" was an average movie for me, but would probably be better appreciated by understanding fans of the country music genre, as the story here coincides which much of the soul in that variety of music (or at least it did before everything went pop). There may also be plenty of musical performances to enjoy, some performed well by the actors.
Samantha Mathis, plays Miranda Presley ("no relation") a rather ambitious, bold young woman (a character for which she always seems most comfortable) who, oddly enough, is a New York native who travels to Nashville to try a career in country music. There, she meets three others who are on the same path, but all eventually lead in different directions.
Though Mathis and River Phoenix (who portrays James, a sometimes hotheaded local country music success and, eventually, Mathis' on-again off-again love interest) are the primary focus of the film, the secondary character do play a significant role in the story. Sandra Bullock plays the shy (but soon, more independent) Linda Lue Linden who arrived in Nashville with the intentions of being a country singer (just like everyone else they meet in the small town), but soon has other aspirations. And Durmot Mulroney plays Kyle, who appears to make a better songwriter than a singer, and constantly vies with James for Miranda's attention.
I would rate this movie simply as average because of the lack of development of some of the characters, despite their involvement in the story, as well as the lack of a solid resolution at the end. Although the whole cast gives great performances, however (check out Anthony Clark as Bullock's boyfriend, Billy), the story is lacking in some genuine finesse somewhere. As said before, country music fans might find more to appreciate about the situation and characters.