Songcatcher | Chicago Reader

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A musicologist is passed over for a promotion in 1907 because she's a woman and because her married lover, a colleague, doesn't support her appointment. So she leaves the university and heads for her sister's place, a school in the North Carolina mountains where she'll accidentally make a career-building discovery about the relationship between traditional Appalachian and Scotch-Irish ballads. This drama metes out music history and ethnology with equal rigor if not persuasiveness, using a framework of pleasing genre romance and compelling vocal performances (by Emmylou Harris, among others). Like the main character, it's stodgy and didactic—and full of grace and surprises. Written and directed by Maggie Greenwald; with Janet McTeer. 109 min.

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