The Thing Called Love (1993)



Critic Consensus: The last film River Phoenix completed before his death, The Thing Called Love doesn't have much new to say about show business, but it's energetic and well acted.

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Movie Info

Four young musicians attempt to find success and happiness in the world of country music in this drama. Sharing a common hangout in a popular Nashville club, the quartet becomes involved in romances and intense rivalries while they struggle to achieve fame.
Comedy , Drama , Musical & Performing Arts , Romance
Directed By:
Written By:
In Theaters:
Paramount Pictures

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River Phoenix
as James Wright
Samantha Mathis
as Miranda Presley
Dermot Mulroney
as Kyle Davidson
Sandra Bullock
as Linda Lue Linden
K.T. Oslin
as Lucy
Katy Moffatt
as Herself
Pam Tillis
as Herself
Kevin Welch
as Himself
Larry Black
as Taxicab Driver
O'Neal Compton
as Singing Cop
Zoe Cassavetes
as Bluebird Waitress
Barry Shabaka Henley
as Reverend Raymond
Paul Hampton
as Doug Siskin
Kevin Bourland
as Publisher
Tom Nolan
as Desk Cop
Rosie Flores
as Writer's Circle Participant
Jason Klassi
as Writer's Circle Participant
Valeri Ross
as Doctor
Jack Verbois
as Rear-ended Driver
Ancel Cook
as Onlooker
Rick Hall
as Onlooker
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Critic Reviews for The Thing Called Love

All Critics (21) | Top Critics (5)

Perhaps there's not much new to say about the dues and disappointments involved in breaking into the country music scene, but the scenes are fresh and the emotions real in Peter Bogdanovich's tune-laden, mixed-mood drama.

Full Review… | March 25, 2009
Top Critic

Bogdanovich's modest staging is occasionally awkward -- his kids still watch John Wayne movies at the drive-in -- but there's a convincing sense of what Nashville's like and how country music works.

Full Review… | February 8, 2006
Time Out
Top Critic

Although well acted, with early scenes that deftly sketch the atmosphere, the movie, written by Carol Heikkinen, never takes off.

August 30, 2004
New York Times
Top Critic

It bears as little relation to the real Nashville as Altman's 1975 feature, but director Peter Bogdanovich, the talented cast, and the credited and uncredited screenwriters are so busy conjuring up a charming world of their own that I didn't mind.

Full Review… | June 23, 2002
Chicago Reader
Top Critic

Perhaps no one could have saved Phoenix, who was not lucky enough to find a higher bottom than death. But this performance in this movie should have been seen by someone as a cry for help.

Full Review… | December 31, 1999
Chicago Sun-Times
Top Critic

A star is born in Nashville.

Full Review… | January 2, 2011
Common Sense Media

Audience Reviews for The Thing Called Love

good movie..

Lea Lea
Lea Lea

Super Reviewer


A bit of a chick flick but it's a good film with some great performances by Samantha Mathis [she is sexy as hell], Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock, and the late River Phoenix.

Chosen 718
Chosen 718

Super Reviewer

This was River's last movie. About a group of musicians seeling fame and fortune.

Candy Rose
Candy Rose

Super Reviewer

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