“A Love Song”
Rotten Tomatoes (***+), Letterboxd (3.5/5), Imdb.com (7/10)
As the clock of life ticks by, many of us begin to look back on our lives in terms of the opportunities we pursued and the regrets we hold over those we didn’t. Those are the primary themes explored in writer-director Max Walker-Silverman’s debut feature about a pair of childhood friends (Dale Dickey, Wes Studi) who reunite after many years apart at a remote Colorado campground. Their time together gives them a chance to reflect upon their lives, their memories and the loves they both lost. But where do they go from here now that they’ve reconnected? This tender, bittersweet arm’s-length romance has its moments of humor, compassion and joyful reunion, as well as its elements of stilted awkwardness and protracted hesitation, reflecting the ambiguity the two principals are feeling after their long separation. It makes for some interesting dynamics set against the beautifully photographed backdrop of the Western wilderness. However, despite these strengths, the script feels a little thin with an underdeveloped narrative and back story, issues that are slightly exacerbated by the picture’s slow but tolerable pacing. While it’s true this offering proves that a film doesn’t always need a complex, densely packed screenplay chock full of dramatic heft to be effective, it nevertheless seems that “A Love Song” could have benefitted from a little more substance. Still, this one has its merits, having deservedly earned Independent Spirit Award nominations for Dickey’s lead performance and as a candidate for the competition’s John Cassavettes Award. This is the kind of film that makes a good choice for a cozy weekend afternoon while curled up on the couch, and, thankfully, its economical 1:21:00 runtime is just long enough to make it enjoyable without becoming tedious – a nice little diversion without becoming tiresome.