The Anne Hathaway-starring indie Song One could have been a solid, sweet film if it were not so wrapped up in trying to be too many other things. The movie casts Hathaway – who also produced – as Franny the older sister to Henry, who dropped out of college to be a musician. Franny, who has been estranged from her brother and mom, comes back home after her brother is struck by a taxi and slips into a coma. Franny finds her brother’s journal and starts to track down all the musicians and haunts her brother favored – in one of those scenarios that no one outside of a movie would actually do. She ends up striking up a friendship and eventual romance with her brother’s favorite indie singer (played by Johnny Flynn).
An interesting premise, but the problem comes as the movie is simply trying too hard to be like that other music-based indie Once, even down to the scene where the musician (Glen Hansard in Once and Flynn in Song One) picks up the acoustic guitar and sings an impromptu nonsensical goofy song, making it up as he goes along, to impress the female lead. The attempts to wrap itself in hipster cred is also achingly painful, especially the scene where Franny spends a day hunting down an ancient Victrola to put in her brother’s hospital room. The only thing missing was a tin of mustache wax and a Member’s Only jacket.
The acting here is great and the story could have been sweet if only the director wasn’t trying so hard.
Song One/86 mins./Cinedigm/2015