Song One is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Kate Barker-Froyland at her directorial debut. The film follows Franny Ellis (Anne Hathaway), an anthropology student who returns to New York City after her estranged brother, Henry (Ben Rosenfield), a musician, enters a coma; to revive Henry and repair their relationship, Franny uses her anthropologist instincts. After attending a concert by Henry's favorite musician, James Forester (Johnny Flynn), Franny shares her brother's story with James, who comes to the hospital to play at Henry's bedside.
The film premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 30th Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014, and opened in the United States on January 23, 2015, to mixed reviews from critics.
Franny Ellis (Anne Hathaway), an anthropology student, returns home from her PhD thesis work in Morocco to see her estranged brother, Henry (Ben Rosenfield), a musician who entered a coma after being hit by a car. To revive Henry and repair their relationship, Franny uses writings from Henry's journal to travel among New York City music clubs, where she takes notes on the phrases and music she observes. She fills Henry's sterile hospital room with familiar sounds and scents. Eventually, Franny meets Henry's favorite musician, James Forester (Johnny Flynn), at his concert, and convinces him to play for Henry. Franny and James explore New York City through Henry's experiences, develop a romantic relationship, and Henry awakens.Anne Hathaway as Franny Ellis
Mary Steenburgen as Karen
Johnny Flynn as James Forester
Al Thompson as Andy
Crystal Lonneberg as James' Friend
Stefano Villabona as Rock Concert Goer
Ben Rosenfield as Henry Ellis
Steve Antonucci as Bartender
Katrina Elizabeth Perkins as Hippie Woman
Monna Sabouri as Bedouin Bride
Walter DeForest as Handlebar Moustache Doorman
J. Michael Kent as Tattooed Hipster
Jessamine Kelley as Tess
Initially Franny was written as 19 years old, however after Anne Hathaway came aboard, Barker-Froyland. rewrote the part to be that of an older woman, which she notes worked well for the script as it gave Franny more reason to not want to be a musician. Hathaways previous movie Les Miserable required her to adopt a shorter hair style than usual, rather than make her regrow the hair, the director incorporated it into the script.
Filming of Song One began in June 2013 in New York City.
The soundtrack, released by Lakeshore Records on January 13, 2015, contained original scores written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice of the indie rock duo Jenny & Johnny. Barker-Froyland met with the duo in Los Angeles and, after she listened to "Little Yellow Dress" before her plane ride to New York, decided that they would create the songs that Flynn would perform in-character.
During production, Song One producer Jonathan Demme instructed Lewis and Rice to record its music as Skip Spence recorded his 1969 psychedelic album Oar. The duo wrote eleven songs for the film, though only seven were used in its composition.
Song One premiered at the 30th Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. Later, the film opened in a limited release on January 23, 2015, with $20,200 in gross sales generated from twenty-seven theaters in the United States. As of 5 April 2015, the film has grossed $32,251.
Song One received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a rating of 36%, based on 44 reviews, with an average score of 5.3/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Song One has plenty of earnest charm, but that isn't enough to overcome its slight, familiar story." The aggregator Metacritic gave the film a score of 48 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".