Recently released on Blu-ray and DVD, Ricki and The Flash stars Mery. Streep as Ricki, a rock singer who attempts to reconnect with her daughter Julie (Mami Gummer) who is heartbroken over the breakup of her marriage.
One of my more anticipated films this year is Ricki and the Flash, which features Meryl Streep as a singer/guitarist who has put music ahead of her family. Although she tries her best to reconnect with her grown kids (Streep’s own daughter Mamie Gummer and Sebastian Stan), certain wounds are hard to heal.
Now playing in select theaters and available on VOD, Song One stars Anne Hathaway (who also produces) as Franny, an anthropology student who returns to Brooklyn after her brother Henry (Ben Rosenfield) is rendered comatose after a car accident.
After reading his diaries and listening to his compositions, Franny gradually see Henry’s passions with a less judgmental eye, and her bond to her sibling strengthens after meeting his music idol James Forester (Johnny Flynn).
Director Kate Barker-Froyland enlisted singer/songwriters Johnathan Rice and Jenny Lewis to compose original songs from the picture (the tracks were penned from the POV of James Forester).
“You have to proceed with a certain amount of openness to critique because we were creating these songs based on our idea of this character that Kate wrote. So it didn’t always resonate with her in the right way, and we would send them off in emails to (executive producer) Jonathan Demme who we’re huge fans of and to Adam (Shulman) and Annie (Hathaway), and Kate and (sometimes) the songs didn’t work. And we would have to go back to the drawing board.
But we would (often) start songs separately and then come together with the idea of the character where Johnathan would finish an idea or I would finish one of his ideas.”
The music’s tone is partly influenced by the reflective, acoustic driven musicianship of Elliott Smith. Though “Song One’s” music are unique in their own right, Lewis and Rice chose Rob Schnapf, a producer and former collaborator of Smith’s, to work on the soundtrack.
Here’s a clip of Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice collaborating with Ben Rosenfield on “Marble Song,” a track that’s featured on the “Song One” soundtrack.
Opening in theaters and VOD on January 23, Song One centers on Franny (Anne Hathaway), a woman who returns to Brooklyn after her musician brother Henry (Boardwalk Empire’s Ben Rosenfield) slips into a coma after a car accident. Initially judgmental about Henry’s career path, Franny sees her sibling in a truer light after listening to his music and revisiting his old haunts.
Part of Franny’s journey includes meeting Henry’s music idol James Forester (Johnny Flynn, who’s excellent in the role), and their unexpected bond forms the basis of this narrative.
Filmmaker/writer Kate Barker-Froyland, who met Hathaway as the director’s assistant on The Devil Wears Prada paints Brooklyn with a nostalgic and resonant eye, and much of the movie is shot during the dead of night, when the city’s music scene comes alive.
During the Song One interviews, I asked Anne Hathaway if the perception of Los Angeles as an industry town and New York existing as an artistic haven holds true. Hathaway, who has resided in both areas, said comparing the two cities isn’t the way to go, and she also elaborates on why she’s found a home in Los Angeles.
L.A. was an industry town for me until I made friends and that took a really long time to kind of find my group and now that I have it, it’s not an industry town. I have a wonderful and vibrant life out here.
Click on the media bar below to hear Anne Hathaway talk about her thoughts on Los Angeles and New York: