Songcatcher

I was very pleased after watching Songcatcher. It was a movie that I would watch again. I enjoyed the music and felt it had a good story. While it was a story primarily about how Dr. Lily Penleric tries to preserve a mountain culture, I felt it was also a story about how she finds herself through the ways of the mountain people. The music moved me, and I was very intrigued by Lily’s character.

I thought the music was raw and refreshing. I have rarely heard anybody sing that “yodel” sound, so this movie was very entertaining for me. The songs seemed happy and light-hearted. Yet, when one listens to the actual lyrics, it goes much deeper than that. The music has meaning and purpose. Also, I admire the way they sang and played their instruments with such passion. Lily described the mountain people and their music as, “Music is the air [they] breathe.” I think she summed it up perfectly. When Lily was crying by the river after all of her hard work was burned to ashes, Tom had sung a song, “When the Mountains Cry.” There is a lyric—“the rivers of sorrow”—and upon hearing that, it reminded me of that part when she was crying. The music was inspiring, and Lily was also an inspiration.

I thought the characters were well developed, particularly the main character, Lily. In the beginning of the movie, Lily was very refined and seemed “uptight.” Although she seemed professional and seemed to have a good head on her shoulders, something was missing. I couldn’t quite put my finger on it until the story progressed. I admired her determination and ambition to gather the music of the mountain people. Her character was so talented in her area of expertise, but even the most professional people can lack certain qualities. Upon meeting Tom, I instantly saw the connection between the two. As the film continued, the relationship between the two blossomed, and Lily began to loosen up. She danced and drank with Viney when the town had a get together. She embraced and kissed Tom when she saw him; she was even in her undergarments while doing so (though this was because she had shed her clothes due to the panther cat legend.) She literally began to let her hair down. It was humbling to watch her character unfold, and it was even more enjoyable to see her and Tom still together in the end.

Having a love for music and happy endings, I felt Songcatcher was an overall “feel-good” kind of movie that captured my attention throughout the course of the film. It opened with the song “Barbara Allen” sung and played on the piano by Dr. Lily Penleric. It was interesting to me how the same song was sung in the beginning and at the end. I liked how Lily sang it in the beginning, which showed the refined melody. However, I also liked how in the end it was more raw and edgy, which was sung by Deladis. Whether it was the director’s intention to do this to show how the mountain culture lives on—or it was just my interpretation of it—I think it was an appropriate way to end the film.

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