Thursday, January 22, 2015

Kate Barker-Froyland's SONG ONE: All about the Brooklyn music scene & crossing the street safely

The music scene in Brooklyn, New York, is certainly worth learning about (and listening to) but it turns out that understanding how to cross a street safely is the more important thing in SONG ONE, the pleasant little first-full-length film from a woman by the name of Kate Barker-Froyland. As good as is the music created by the character, Henry, whom we see first in this movie, his street crossing skills are so inept that he quickly ends up in a coma in the hospital -- which then whisks us off to Morocco, where his sister, Franny, gets word of the accident and rushes home to be at his side. I don't think I'm giving away heavy-duty spoilers here, as all this occurs within the film's first few minutes, but I do worry that crossing the street is something for which we may be losing our abilities, as this is the second such accident in a movie in as many weeks (the great and wonderful film, Still Life, ending its theatrical run today, offers up this fraught street-crossing event, too).

Ms Barker-Froyland, shown at right, is intent on bringing to life the Brooklyn music scene as it exists either now, or just a bit ago, as well as healing family bonds (Franny and Henry were not speaking, and their mom is yet another problem in the mix), as well as providing a sweet love story. She succeeds -- to some extent, at least -- in all three of these endea-vors, yet does not really fill any of them to the max.

Two of the movie's three plot arcs are pretty predictable; the third offers a beguiling little surprise, ending the film with more subtlety and charm than we'd expected. So, overall, I'd give Song One a recommendation, especially if sweet stories and folk music are your thing. And if you're a fan of Anne Hathaway (above) and her enormous eyes, then I'd suggest a definite look-see.

Some of the music is enjoyable, too, in a light kind of way (the music in Rudderless, out now on DVD, is much better), as performed by singer/actor Johnny Flynn, above, who plays the iconic hero of Henry and a sort-of love interest for Franny. Mr. Flynn also plays a fellow who is having a very lengthy case of writer's block, music style, and perhaps this has worn into his performance, which seems always a little bit tired and lacking energy.

Not so with the mother of the family, above, left, played very well by Mary Steenburgen. Son Henry is mostly in that hospital bed, so actor Ben Rosenfield (above, right) doesn't get much of a chance to shine but makes the most of the little non-comatose screen time he gets.

Overall, the movie goes by relatively painlessly, and at only 85 minutes it certainly doesn't over-extend its stay. From Cinedigm, Song One opens this Friday, January 23, in a very limited run. Here in New York City it will play the Angelika Film Center, and in the Los Angeles area at the Arclight, Sherman Oaks. Elsewhere? Not sure, but Cinedigm will be releasing a DVD of the film at the end of March. Click here and then scroll down for more info. 

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