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Song to Song

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8.2/10 Filmweb

Directed by  Terrence Malick
Cinematography  Emmanuel Lubezki
Director  Terrence Malick
Distributor  Broad Green Pictures
6.8/10 IMDb


Written by  Terrence Malick
Initial release  17 March 2017 (USA)
Production company  FilmNation Entertainment
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Produced by  Nicolas Gonda Sarah Green Ken Kao
Starring  Michael Fassbender Ryan Gosling Rooney Mara Natalie Portman
Edited by  Rehman Nizar Ali Hank Corwin Keith Fraase
Editors  Keith Fraase, Hank Corwin, Rehman Nizar Ali
Cast  Natalie Portman, Michael Fassbender, Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Christian Bale
Similar  Voyage of Time, The Other Woman, Knight of Cups, To the Wonder, Your Highness

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Song to Song is a 2017 American experimental romantic drama film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring an ensemble cast including Ryan Gosling, Rooney Mara, Michael Fassbender and Natalie Portman.

Contents

After a lengthy post-production period of at least over three years, the film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2017, and was released in the United States on March 17, 2017 by Broad Green Pictures. Critical reception for the film has thus far been mixed.

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Plot

In a love story set against the Austin, Texas music scene, two entangled couples — struggling lyricists Faye (Mara) and BV (Gosling), and music mogul Cook (Fassbender) and the waitress whom he ensnares (Portman) — chase success through a rock ‘n’ roll landscape of seduction and betrayal.

Cast

Florence Welch, Patti Smith, Iggy Pop, The Black Lips, Alan Palomo, John Lydon, Flea, Spank Rock, Tegan Quin, Sara Quin, Anthony Kiedis, Chad Smith, Josh Klinghoffer, Erik Sprague and Big Freedia, all make cameo appearances in the film.

Development

In November 2011, it was announced that Ryan Gosling, Christian Bale, Cate Blanchett, Rooney Mara and Haley Bennett had all been cast in the film. The film was originally titled Lawless, but Malick allowed filmmaker John Hillcoat to use the title for his 2012 film. The production company when the film was announced as in pre-production in November 2011 was FilmNation Entertainment and its producers were Sarah Green and Nicolas Gonda. In November 2012, it was announced that Bérénice Marlohe had joined the cast of the film, with her character being kept under wraps. It was revealed in March 2015 the title was Weightless. In February 2016, Sarah Green confirmed the title of the film was indeed Weightless, though it was later changed to Song to Song. In December 2016, it was announced Iggy Pop, John Lydon, Arcade Fire, Alan Palomo, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes and The Black Lips would appear in the film.

Filming

Rooney Mara said in December 2011 that filming was scheduled to begin in September 2012. That month, scenes were shot in Austin, Texas. In March 2012, Alan Palomo of Neon Indian shot scenes for the film. In October 2012, Mara, Michael Fassbender, Florence Welch and Holly Hunter were spotted on set filming. Mara said in an interview that Patti Smith shot scenes for the film, playing herself. In November 2012, Val Kilmer was spotted filming. Christian Bale only shot three days on the film.

Post-production

Post-production on the film took longer than expected because the film's extensive eight-hour long first cut entailed Malick having to approach the financiers and studios more than once in order to complete the film.

In October 2013, Michael Fassbender provided voice-over that the actor said may be cut from the completed film, stating, "I'm not sure [if I'm in the final cut]. I've got to go actually and do some more voice-over ... just like reams and reams of that." Bale also expressed doubts about whether he would appear, saying in November 2013, "I unfortunately wasn't able to do everything I was meant to do, so I ended up doing like three, four days on that. Which in Terry's world means you're never going to see me in it." In January 2016, Mara revealed she did voice-over for the film.

Christian Bale, Haley Bennett, Benicio del Toro, Arcade Fire, Iron & Wine, Fleet Foxes, Boyd Holbrook, Trevante Rhodes and Angela Bettis were all cut from the film.

Release

In February 2015, Broad Green Pictures acquired U.S distribution rights to the film. The film had its world premiere at South by Southwest on March 10, 2017. The film was released on March 17, 2017.

Critical response

Song to Song has polarized film critics. It has 46% approval from 74 critics, and an average rating of 5.5/10, on review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes. The site's critical consensus reads, "As visually sumptuous as it is narratively spartan, Terrence Malick's Song to Song echoes elements of the writer-director's recent work -- for better and for worse." On Metacritic, the film holds a rating of 51 out of 100, based on 31 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".

In a five-star review for The Independent, Christopher Hooton claimed that it has become fashionable among critics to ridicule Malick's recent films, but that given a chance the film is a "masterpiece" and even "life-changing". In Entertainment Weekly, however, Joe McGovern derided it as "incoherent, disconnected, self-interrupting, obsessed with pointless minutiae and crammed full of odd, limp stabs at profundity [...] you’ll find yourself searching in the margins of each shot for something or someone tangible to grasp onto."

Film critic Matt Zoller Seitz of RogerEbert.com gave two-and-a-half out of four stars to the film. Although he has continuously praised Malick's work and style in the past ("I don't believe that the Austin-based director has ever made a bad movie..."), he expressed that Song to Song "is the first Malick film I’ve watched where the dots never came together to form a legible image", emphasizing the film's need for more "rhetorical connective tissue" that would further connect to the film's themes as well as better characterizations, more so than Malick's previous work because of the film's highly chaotic nature. Seitz concluded that the film is "a brainy concept album made up of B-sides and filler. The musicianship is superb but the songs needed work."

References

Song to Song Wikipedia


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