If you think you know what “hillbilly” means, watch Songcatcher and then think again. Songcatcher (2000, rated PG-13, 109 minutes) is, nominally, a story about illiterate hillbillies and the songs they sing and the naïve college professor who decides to “scientifically collect” their songs and their musical heritage.

Put on your drama hat and then watch and listen and enjoy this romp through a brief history of Appalachian/English/Celtic folk songs, and twang you have to believe in, and simply affectionate love that you want to believe in.

Janet McTeer is credible as Dr. Lily Penleric, the musicologist who “discovers” the authentic hillbilly versions of so many old English folk songs that she cherishes. Emmy Rossum as Deladis Slocumb is a real treat as she “sangs” so many of the lilting verses with raw lyrics and so much human truth.

Aidan Quinn as Tom Bledsoe is Lily’s connection to the mountain life after she falls in love with him, and before she lures him away to give the music to the down-mountain world.

If you’re looking for a feel-good movie, try this one.


Request the DVD version of Songcatcher


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