A young woman strikes up a relationship with her ailing brother's favorite musician.A young woman strikes up a relationship with her ailing brother's favorite musician.A young woman strikes up a relationship with her ailing brother's favorite musician.
Hardly-plain Anne Hathaway has a camera -ready head with a perfectly coiffed pixie and larger-than life lips. Good thing because Song One spends most of its 96 minutes caressing it while she moons over a folk singer. Yep, it's a romance but still not a bad one. Compared to John Carney's Once, however, it's a one note song. Considering it's writer-director Kate Barker-Froyland's debut film, it's a winner for her because of the promise it shows.
The Nicholas Sparks-like teary tropes are there: For instance, her folk singing brother, Henry (Ben Rosenfield), is in a coma while her mother (Mary Steenburgen) is eccentric and Franny (Hathaway) has been estranged from her and her brother . Enter heartthrob folksinger James Forester (Johnny Flynn), who sings sexy naturalistic songs and wins doctoral candidate Franny's heart.
The good part of this cliché is that the love grows organically, not swiftly or too cutely. Although his singing is seductive and his look shaggy handsome, he's playing down his charisma, and that angle makes Franny too low-key and mom almost hyper when she's not quite that.
Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice's music is sweet and longing, accessible for those not enamored of the folk genre. Unfortunately, the music is frequently melancholic to the extreme.
The film's strength is the organic growth of the romance and the organic neo-folk musical style that moves from street singing to full house concerts with equal grace. The weakness, however, is that nothing much else happens. For those who like authentic love stories, Song One can be first in their hearts while the rest of the audience can watch Walk the Line for some real musical drama.
"All music is folk music. I ain't never heard a horse sing a song." Louis Armstrong
- Jan 18, 2015