Review: Song One (Barker-Froyland, 2014) – Sundance 2014

Courtesy of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival website

Courtesy of the 2014 Sundance Film Festival website

We typically avoid movies with big stars at Sundance because it seems counter to the spirit of the festival. They don’t feel truly “independent,” though of course I’ve never bothered to look up what that word actually means anymore. Still, I’m a sucker for a movie with a good soundtrack, and this one promised to be right up my musical alley.

Song One definitely lived up to that promise. Kudos to singer-songwriters Johnathan Rice and Jenny Lewis. I didn’t know they were involved in this project until after I watched the movie, but no wonder I loved the music because (the now defunct?) Rilo Kiley has been one of my favorite bands for years. I also discovered that the diffident, dreamy long-locks Johnny Flynn, who plays the lead male in this musical romance, is a singer-songwriter in his own right. I love it when movies introduce me to new singers.

Outside of the music, though, the story itself traces a fairly well-worn, predictable route. Good acting abounds, and Anne Hathaway brings to her role her characteristically believable pathos, but none of it can stretch the script (or the movie) to another level. It remains a familiar, enjoyable story, elevated to its spot in my list only by its killer music.