Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2000. ErgoArts, Rigas Entertainment. Screenplay by Maggie Greenwald. Cinematography by Enrique Chediak. Produced by Richard Miller, Ellen Rigas-Venetis. Music by David Mansfield. Production Design by Ginger Tougas. Costume Design by Kasia Walicka-Maimone. Film Editing by Keith Reamer.
Fascinating story directed by Maggie Greenwald (The Ballad of Little Jo) about a tight-laced musicologist (Janet McTeer) in the early twentieth century who is tired of being passed over for the full professorship that she has been working hard to earn for many years. Realizing that she’ll never get her due from the male-oriented staff at her university, she decides to visit her sister (Jane Adams), a teacher running a modern-minded school in the Appalachian mountains of Tennessee. There she discovers that the locals of the area are of a culture rife with old English folk songs that were transported there by the early settlers more than two hundred years before and had taken a life of their own after being inherited by their descendants. In deciding to make a project of writing the songs down and publishing them, McTeer teaches the so-called ignorant mountain folk the science of music while they in turn give her the greater gift of learning to enjoy it as more than just information. Aidan Quinn is excellent as a local bumpkin who resists McTeer’s newfangled ideas but ends up romancing her. Excellent acting and a beautifully original story, not to mention that it’s chock-full of gorgeous music at every turn, make this a must-see for those who love a strong, and uplifting, independently-minded film.