Songcatcher (2001) - Rotten Tomatoes

Songcatcher (2001)



Critic Consensus: The story may be a bit too melodramatic, but great performances abound in Songcatcher. The real reason to see the movie, however, is the hypnotic music.

Movie Info

After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life -- a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted -- not only by the rugged purity of the music, but also by the raw courage and endurance of the local people as they carve out meaningful lives against the harshest conditions. It is not, however, until she meets Tom -- a handsome, hardened war veteran and talented musician -- that she's forced to examine her motivations. Is the "Songcatcher," as Tom insists, no better than the men who exploit the people and extort their land?more
Rating: PG-13 (for sexual content and an intense scene of childbirth)
Genre: Drama, Romance, Musical & Performing Arts
Directed By:
Written By: Maggie Greenwald
In Theaters:
On DVD: Oct 23, 2001
Box Office: $1.6M
Lions Gate - Official Site


Janet McTeer
as Dr. Lily Penleric
Gregory Russell Cook
as Fate Honeycutt
Taj Mahal
as Dexter
Emmy Rossum
as Deladis
Michael Goodwin
as Professor
Bart Hansard
as Hilliard
Michael Harding
as Reese Kincaid
Rhoda Griffis
as Clementine McFarland
Steve Boles
as Ambrose McFarland
Taylor Hayes
as Reverend Merriweathe...
Don Pedi
as Barn Band Member (Du...
Sheila Kay Adams
as Barn Band Member (Ba...
Bobby McMillon
as Singer at Barn Dance
Hazel Dickens
as Singer at Barn Dance
Andrea Powell
as Josie Moore
Danny Nelson
as Uncle Cratis
David Ducey
as Postman Johnson
Steven Sutherland
as Cyrus Whittle
Show More Cast

News & Interviews for Songcatcher

Critic Reviews for Songcatcher

All Critics (89) | Top Critics (29)

Like the main character, it's stodgy and didactic -- and full of grace and surprises.

Full Review… | April 24, 2012
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Songcatcher unfolds at a leisurely but enjoyable pace, its dramatic contrivances never pushed too hard by director Maggie Greenwald.

Full Review… | March 27, 2009
Top Critic

No matter how purely sung, the music keeps getting lost in the melodrama.

Full Review… | October 12, 2001
Globe and Mail
Top Critic

A wonderfully crafted movie in a minor key.

August 24, 2001
Orlando Sentinel
Top Critic

an uneven path, like the mountainous scenery itself

Full Review… | November 30, 2010
Old School Reviews

Never overcomes its overly familiar story and structure, even with some catchy traditional music generously spread throughout.

Full Review… | November 9, 2009

Audience Reviews for Songcatcher

Lovely small film with beautiful music.

jay nixon

Super Reviewer


The film, about a female music scholar's study of Appalachian mountain music, is slow, but the music is SO worth it.

Cindy I

Super Reviewer


Lily always had a wide-eyed stare, no matter what emotion she was showing. There were lots of random events, unrelated to the story line and the movie was fairly predictable overall.

Dannielle Albert

Super Reviewer

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