Critics 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.



Reviews Counted: 88

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Audience Score

User Ratings: 2,473


All Critics | Top Critics
Average Rating: N/A
Reviews Count: 0
Fresh: 0
Rotten: 0


Average Rating: 3.6/5

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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?

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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 Merriweather
Don Pedi
as Barn Band Member (Dulcimer)
Sheila Kay Adams
as Barn Band Member (Banjo)
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
View All

Critic Reviews for Songcatcher

All Critics (88) | Top Critics (29)

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

Apr 24, 2012 | Full Review…

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

Mar 27, 2009
Top Critic

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

Oct 12, 2001 | Rating: 2/4 | Full Review…

A wonderfully crafted movie in a minor key.

Aug 24, 2001

Tall, big-boned Janet McTeer ... is the ideal actress to play Lily Penleric.

Aug 2, 2001 | Rating: 3/4 | Full Review…

A beautifully crafted story about a time and place rarely captured on film.

Jul 16, 2001 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Songcatcher

Lovely small film with beautiful music.

jay nixon
jay nixon

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
Dannielle Albert

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
Cindy I

Super Reviewer

Songcatcher Quotes

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