Film

New Music From Jenny Lewis Can’t Save the Twee Song One

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There’s some winsome soul out there who will find this indie folk-scene romance just the thing: Johnny Flynn sings passionate songs penned by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice, while Anne Hathaway beams, delicate as the inner ear of a butterfly, fresh moisture welling in those puddle-wide eyes. Hathaway plays a Ph.D. student called back to her Brooklyn home after her brother, a would-be singer-songwriter, is knocked into a coma.

She trawls the city’s open-mic nights to immerse herself in his suspended life. Hathaway’s performance is brave, strong, wistful, and misty, and she’s especially affecting when being wooed, gently, by Flynn, playing an indie-folkstar.

He serenades the comatose brother; she buys a vintage keyboard; and they stay out until dawn, enchanted by the movie’s vague idea of New York City, here reduced to junk shops, acoustic guitars, and distant lights flattened by the camera lens to jewel-like wafers.

The moment that usually would be a movie couple’s first kiss is complicated by the fact that she’s holding a gramophone. He’s got writer’s block, she’s waiting out the brother’s coma, and the audience is left to wait out the inevitable resolution to both hoary plotlines.

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