Movies

Movie Date: Song One

STARRING: Anne Hathaway, Mary Steenburgen, Johnny Flynn, Ben Rosenfield

DIRECTOR: Kate Barker-Froyland

THE SKINNY: Anthropologist Franny (Hathaway) returns home when her estranged music-loving brother Henry (Rosenfield) falls into a coma. In an effort to better understand him, she tracks down his favourite musician James Forester (Flynn) and ends up in a romantic relationship with him. James comforts Franny and also plays music for her comatose brother, bringing relief to the family.

RATING: M18

THE CONSENSUS: Newcomer Flynn is the shining star of this rather mesmerising music movie that hits the right notes.


MARS

The best kind of music movies are the ones with real musicians.

It always kind of bothered me that Rachael Leigh Cook and her bandmates didn't actually sing or play in Josie And The Pussycats.

Same with Diane Lane in Streets Of Fire.

Song One benefits enormously from having real-life singer-songwriter Flynn starring as folk-rock hero James Forester.

He has that special rock star charisma, and when he performs his music, you enjoy it as a movie and music performance.

Aside from this, the main thing I love about Song One is that it sort of transcends itself. I think it is better than they intended it to be.

What you have here is the story of a girl finding comfort with a musician as her brother lies in a coma.

The musician, James, seems almost like a supernatural figure, like a guardian angel.

The film is grounded in reality, and yet I kept looking for clues that James is some sort of spirit.

Hathaway is really wonderful in the film, and she is really great at making you feel a part of what she is going through, like the scene where she first has James come to the hospital to play for her brother.

Just the idea of a boy's favourite musician trying to awaken him from an endless slumber with a song is deeply moving.

Rating: 4/5

JASON JOHNSON


VENUS

If you're born and bred on Hollywood romance movies, then forget about Song One.

It is far from your typical run-of-the-mill fare.

That said, it is not entirely original, but its down-to-earth qualities help elevate it from being a snoozefest.

With the story revolving around estranged family relationships plus a whirlwind romance, it is so easy to steer into the manipulative, teary territory of Nicholas Sparks movie adaptations.

The first-time feature film director also deserves a pat on the back for her visual storytelling skills, making New York - Brooklyn in particular - even cooler.

It is a pity though, that with two Oscar winners on board - Hathaway and Steenburgen as Franny's mum - the plot doesn't offer them much to do, though some of the best moments are the touching scenes between the duo.

Flynn is so perfectly cast.

The British newcomer not only looks the part of an indie folk singer, he has the real abilities of singing and playing, making him more mesmerising. It is no wonder Franny has that instant connection with him.

Although their coupling comes a bit fast, their innate chemistry never makes the romance look forced.

While Song One never really soars to a high note, it is nevertheless a sweet tale of how music can heal all wounds.

Rating: 3/5

JOANNE SOH

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