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SONGCATCHER (PG-13)
Lions Gate Films
Official Site
Director: Maggie Greenwald
Producer: Ellen Rigas Venetis, Richard Miller
Written by: Maggie Greenwald
Cast: Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn, Pat Carroll, Jane Adams, Erin Blake Clanton

Rating: out of 5


Exploring the origins of folk and bluegrass music, SONGCATCHER lovingly portrays the search for music in all imaginable places. Musicologist Lily Penleric (McTeer), after being passed over for a full professorship, decides to march to the beat of her own drum. Upon visiting her sister Elna (Adams), Lily discovers the same English ballads she had been teaching in school are still being sung in their purest form in the Appalachian Mountains. As the title implies, Lily becomes a "songcatcher" as she begins collecting and recording ballads in order to publish them in a book.

Along the way in her search for music, Lily encounters a rich palette of characters. Viney Butler (Carroll) a seasoned mountain woman becomes a prime source for Lily and a good friend. Her grandson Tom (Quinn), a little rough around the edges, sparks the daring side of Lily. Throughout the film Lily and Tom become combative as they search for each other's motives.

The major drawback of this film was the convenient and sometimes unrealistic love relationship between Lily and Tom. A cultural and socio-economic gulf separated these two characters that seemed a little too easily bridged. The ending almost made me gag on its sugary sweet happiness.

Above all the music really sells this movie. Whenever the mountain locals sing a tune or play an instrument you become mesmerized by the simple beauty and melody. The crux of this movie is the music and the plot follows obediently.

óJennifer Prestigiacomo

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

Itís worth a full-price ticket.

Itís worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...


Mike Doughty



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