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  • The Year Dolly Parton was My Mom opened in Toronto at the Cumberland Theatre last night (March 18). Canadian film maker, Tara Johns, responded to feedback from a grateful, mesmerized audience in a rare Q&A session following the feature. Her script, production details and cast are flawless. Depicting the natural stages of rebirth in the lives of women, she invites male viewers to transition in this sacred world too. In contributing her familiar, soulful lyrics and music to the film's score and her voiced 'tell it like it is' truth, icon Dolly Parton must have intuitively realized she was backing a winner! Get your ruffles ready for the 2012 Oscars, Tara Johns!
  • I had the pleasure of being invited to see this film at it's opening night last Friday, April 8 in Vancouver. As a Canadian filmmaker, I'm always happy to support Canadian films but am even happier when the ones I'm supporting are good! This little gem of a film does not disappoint! Lead actress Julia Stone does a great job in the lead character Elizabeth searching for her biological roots in the hopes that songstress Dolly Parton might meet her expectations. Stone delivers the part with a great sense of maturity and considering she has to carry a good chunk of the film, I have to commend her on her performance. I also really enjoyed Gil Bellows as her Dad and Macha Grenon as the Mother. Both do well in their respective roles but this film's POV is that of Elizabeth and her journey.

    I think what I liked best about this film is that there is a very nice balance in this family film that both mothers and their pre-teen daughters can sit through. There seem to be less of these films out there that can attract both and Director Tara Johns does a great job engaging both audiences. With it's fairly modest budget, this film's production design is very authentic to the 70's genre and the film's cinematography is really lovely. I felt there was an authenticity that was accurately portrayed while keeping me in the story.

    One more thing to note, this soundtrack is great! With most songs being either performed or written by Dolly Parton, you're left humming many of the tunes as you leave the theatre. I was given one as a gift and haven't stopped listening to it! If you have a chance to check this out, do's hard to find family films today that don't go overboard in sentimental mush and this one definitely doesn't. Congrats to Johns on this project and I look forward to seeing more of actress Stone as she grows and matures. I have a feeling she has a long career ahead of her.
  • klott-24-20062810 April 2011
    This delightful new film is a tribute to Canadian talent! What a wonderful cast and we certainly hope to see more from writer/director Tara Johns - a Canadian gem! Set in the prairies one is delivered to the open scape of the imagination of a young girl who wishes her mother was fabulous Dolly Parton. As daughter and mother set out on routes of self-discovery, we are swept away with the emotions and beauty of a film that is both intimate and authentic. The set design and costumes are so detailed that those of us who lived in the seventies feel immediately at home. Vancouverite Julia Stone does an amazing job and Macha Grenon is breathtaking. It is an outstanding treatment of a tale of lost identity, and a must see film for all!
  • I recently saw this fantastic Canadian production, and I was so happy to bring my 13 year old son. Although it's a coming of age story through the experiences of a young girl, it resonates so eloquently with all of us, boys & girls, men & women, about what it means to answer the question: "who am I"?

    The subtle power of the young lead Julia Stone helps the viewer believe in her quest: innocent and determined.

    And my hat is off to director Tara Johns in creating the mood and literally the colour of the period in every way.

    I'd see it again:)
  • I took both of my kids this past weekend and was very impressed. While it was a bit over their heads at times (they are 7 & 4 yrs old) it still captured their attention and I believe they left with a very positive message about the trials of coming of age. Well, maybe my four year old did not get quite that much, but she loved the Dolly Parton songs & costumes ;)

    As a parent it was a great reminder that sometimes you just have to let your kids be kids, let them find their way - not always an easy thing to do. Hats off to cast and crew - another feather in the cap for Canadian film.
  • It's 1976. Elizabeth Alison Gray (Julia Sarah Stone) is an 11 year old from the Canadian prairies. She discovers that she was adopted by her parents. She starts to believe that Dolly Parton is her mom and sets off on her bicycle to Minneapolis to find her. Her adoptive mother Marion goes off to find the runaway girl.

    This is Canadian indie filmed in Winnipeg. Julia Stone is a cute new actress with plenty of screen presence. The title is whimsical. There are some quirky characters. There are good songs especially if you like Dolly Parton. It has some stuff on the plus side. On the other hand, the story can be slow. There are too many silent moments intended to add atmosphere. It isn't as dramatic as it could have been. There isn't much of a plot. It's kinda cute and touching.
  • Last weekend I took my children to see this movie in Vancouver. My daughters are 12 and 9 so the story really spoke to them both. Without giving anything away, it's safe to say that the movie tells the very complex story of the relationship between a mother and her daughter. It's a great commentary on real-life mother/daughter relationships. We love our kids so much that sometimes it's just really hard to admit that they have minds of their own. The 3 of us agreed that it was a wonderful film. It didn't hurt that our friend played the main character either :) Julia Stone was amazing in her role as Elizabeth. I'd recommend this film to anyone. The entire audience was engaged throughout and even the boys enjoyed the movie. Great job Tara!
  • lauraleemail9 April 2016
    Misleading title and casting list....only had a voice over cameo from Dolly. Even if that wasn't bothersome, the movie was confusing and poorly written, shot, and acted. Just kind of a mess with a jumble of plot lines that don't connect. The color grading was over the top and there was too much shaky cam.. It gets points for creativity I guess, but the film strongly seems to be "trying too. hard." It was a waste of my evening to watch it, wish I could get that time back. I mean, the only reason I watched it was because it said it had Dolly Parton in it, but I never even got to see her, other than in stock footage! This movie didn't seem to know what it wanted to be about.....coming of age? Social justice? Identity? Adopted child rights? Bad parenting? Bullying? Overall the movie needed to cut out the Dolly Parton stuff, and have a script overhaul.
  • A touching movie with a lot of drama and emotions. A lot of unnecessary parts, but very moving altogether. The editor really deserved to win an award for the editing done in this. The furniture and clothing of the actors definitely reflect the sixties. Which is surprising, because not many movies do such a good job of doing so. You can really feel the pain and emotions of this, not just by the actions and lines of the actors, but also by the lighting and certain scenes shown in the movie. It altogether has a good message about knowing that it doesn't matter where you've come from, but that you will always have a family. It was even more inspirational when Dolly Parton herself responded to the little girl's letter, giving her a little ray of hope.