After Samuel is killed in World War I, the dynamic between Tristan and Alfred changes. They both fall in love with Susannah (Julia Ormond), Henry’s fiance. As they compete for her heart and their future, their formerly tight bond starts to fray.
Nearly 30 years on, it has become a modern classic. It is beautifully shot and tells the story of an ordinary family living through extraordinary times. While I appreciate the humanity of the Native American characters (who in the past have only been shown as 2D stereotypes), I dislike the portrayal of Susannah.
As usual, her sole role is that of the love interest and the reason for the division of the male characters. She does not have any agency or any other reason for existing within this narrative. Which is a shame, because Ormond has proven herself as a capable actress.
“If they don’t give you a seat at the table, bring a folding chair.”
In the 2000 movie, Songcatcher, Professor Lily Penleric, PhD (Janet McTeer) is denied a promotion at the school where she teaches. Feeling like she has to get away for a while, Lily visits her sister, Eleanor Penleric (Jane Adams) who runs a rural school in Appalachia. There she makes a discovery that could take her career to a new level: ancient Irish-Scottish ballads that have been handed down from parent to child over the generations. Because the community is isolated, the songs have remained untouched and unknown by the outside world.
While Lily starts to collect the songs and use them as a mean to secure the previously turned down promotion, she starts to appreciate not just the land, but the people who call the area home. She also meets Tom Bledsoe (Aidan Quinn), a local war hero and musician who challenges Lily on her reasons for wanting to share the music with the world.
This movie is one of those movies that is underappreciated from my perspective. It’s not a huge spectacle of a movie with grand special effects, but that’s ok. Sometimes I just want to watch a movie with human characters telling a human story.