Review: Song One

Anne Hathaway, Johnny Flynn

Song One is about family. Anne Hathaway plays Franny, a PhD student who gets a call to come home when her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) is hit by a car. Their mother is played by Mary Steenburgen.

Spoilers ahead.

Henry is an aspiring musician. His mother and sister stay by his bedside, where he is in a coma, and talk to him, play music for him, and hold aromatic foods under his nose. Franny goes to his apartment and sees that he idolized a musician named James Forester (Johnny Flynn). When she finds Henry’s ticket to a James Forester concert, she goes.

Forester joins Franny in her efforts to bring music and sound to her brother. He brings his guitar to the hospital and sings for Henry. He helps Franny record sounds in the city.

Franny and James form a relationship of their own, but ultimately the story is not about their romance but about Henry and his health.

There is music everywhere in this film, which is set in the Brooklyn indie music world. Franny does the things Henry would have done, including watch many of the musicians he likes perform. Anne Hathaway sings inexpertly (a good trick from an expert singer) in some scenes as she helps James break through his songwriting blocks.

Song One is a beautiful story about the lengths people will go to for someone they love. Mary Steenburgen’s performance was exceptionally good – she was a somewhat prickly but loving parent to both her children.

The film seems to have been a bit of a flop at the box office. That’s too bad, because it’s a good film. Maybe streaming services can breathe some buzz into it, because it doesn’t deserve to end up in film limbo.

Kate Barker-Froyland wrote and directed Song One. Jonathan Demme and Anne Hathaway are among the producers of the film. It released in 2014. It is available on Amazon Instant Video now.

The Trailer

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