Review: Song One
Indie dramas sometimes all feel the same, and sadly with Kate Barker-Froyland’s music infused romance, Song One, there is nothing very interesting or original to draw you in. Starring Anne Hathaway as a PhD student who is called back home from Morrocco after her younger brother was in a life threatening car accident, the impending romance between Franny (Hathaway) and her brother’s favourite musician James Forester is the kind of plot that is a bit too far out to ever really give in to.
The film has a very low-key quality to it, it’s subtle and is sparked with a few touching moments. While the film never throws away the dying brother and his musical dreams, it definitely favours the contrived love story between Franny and James, as Franny seeks him out as a sort of favour to her brother, and as James becomes heavily involved in this family’s life. Both Anne Hathaway and Johnny Flynn give good performances, but the screenplay and the whole concept really never goes anywhere-it just feels meandering and pointless, and for a film with a character’s life at stake throughout, the viewer often forgets about why Franny and James are even together in the first place.
The music in the film is one of the highlights, as it was composed by Jenny Lewis and Jonathan Rice, two staple musicians in the indie/folk/rock scene. Their original music for the film truly sets the mood and elevates the story. The musical performances, primarily by Johnny Flynn as James Forester and only towards the end of the film by Anne Hathaway, are some of the more intriguing moments.
The film is often pretty to look at and listen to, but the emotional aspects feel more wandering than strong. The always great Mary Steenburgen as Franny and Henry’s mother steals all of her scenes and gives some of the only excitement to the film. Otherwise, there isn’t very much to any of these characters or to the story. It’s a nice film, but nothing much more than that.