Song One

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Song One
Song One.jpg
Theatrical release poster
Directed byKate Barker-Froyland
Produced by Marc Platt
Jonathan Demme
Anne Hathaway
Adam Shulman
Christopher Woodrow
Molly Conners
Written byKate Barker-Froyland
StarringAnne Hathaway
Mary Steenburgen
Johnny Flynn
Music by Johnathan Rice
Jenny Lewis
Cinematography John Guleserian
Edited byMadeleine Gavin
Distributed byThe Film Arcade
Release date
  • January 20, 2014 (2014-01-20)(Sundance)
  • January 23, 2015 (2015-01-23)(United States)
Running time
86 minutes
CountryUnited States
Budget$6 million [1]
Box office$32,251 [2]

Song One is a 2014 American drama film written and directed by Kate Barker-Froyland at her directorial debut. The film follows Franny Ellis (Anne Hathaway), an anthropology student who returns to New York City after her estranged brother, Henry (Ben Rosenfield), a musician, enters a coma; to revive Henry and repair their relationship, Franny uses her anthropologist instincts. After attending a concert by Henry's favorite musician, James Forester (Johnny Flynn), Franny shares her brother's story with James, who comes to the hospital to play at Henry's bedside.


The film premiered in the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the 30th Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014, [3] and opened in the United States on January 23, 2015, to mixed reviews from critics.


Franny Ellis (Anne Hathaway), an anthropology student, returns home from her PhD thesis work in Morocco to see her estranged brother, Henry (Ben Rosenfield), a musician who entered a coma after being hit by a car. To revive Henry and repair their relationship, Franny uses writings from Henry's journal to travel among New York City music clubs, where she takes notes on the phrases and music she observes. She fills Henry's sterile hospital room with familiar sounds and scents. Eventually, Franny meets Henry's favorite musician, James Forester (Johnny Flynn), at his concert, and convinces him to play for Henry. Franny and James explore New York City through Henry's experiences, develop a romantic relationship, and Henry awakens.



Initially, Franny was written as 19 years old, however after Anne Hathaway came aboard, Barker-Froyland rewrote the part to be that of an older woman, which she notes worked well for the script as it gave Franny more reason to not want to be a musician. [4] Hathaways previous movie Les Misérables required her to adopt a shorter hair style than usual, rather than make her regrow the hair, the director incorporated it into the script. [4]

Filming of Song One began in June 2013 in New York City. [5]


Song One
Soundtrack album by
various artists
ReleasedJanuary 13, 2015 (2015-01-13)
RecordedNew York
Label Lakeshore Records
Producer Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice

The soundtrack, released by Lakeshore Records on January 13, 2015, contained original scores written by Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice of the indie rock duo Jenny & Johnny. [6] Barker-Froyland met with the duo in Los Angeles and, after she listened to "Little Yellow Dress" before her plane ride to New York, decided that they would create the songs that Flynn would perform in-character.

During production, Song One producer Jonathan Demme instructed Lewis and Rice to record its music as Skip Spence recorded his 1969 psychedelic album Oar . [7] The duo wrote eleven songs for the film, though only seven were used in its composition. [8]

Track listing

1."Bulb Went Black" Johnny Flynn 3:09
2."Cumberland Gap" The Felice Brothers 2:31
3."In April"Flynn3:12
4."One Day" Sharon Van Etten 4:38
5."What Have You Done"Naomi Shelton & The Gospel Queens3:46
6."Iris, Instilled"Flynn2:44
7."I Need You" America 3:06
8."The Crystal Cat" Dan Deacon 3:50
9."Big Black Cadillac"Flynn2:30
10."My Baby Just Cares for Me" Nina Simone 3:37
11."Little Yellow Dress"Flynn3:21
12."O Leãozinho" Paul Whitty 2:30
13."Marble Song" Ben Rosenfield 3:21
14."Afraid of Heights"Flynn and Anne Hathaway 1:53
15."Silver Song"Flynn2:46


Box office

Song One premiered at the 30th Sundance Film Festival on January 20, 2014, in the U.S. Dramatic Competition. [3] Later, the film opened in a limited release on January 23, 2015, with $20,200 in gross sales generated from twenty-seven theaters in the United States. [2] [9] As of 5 April 2015, the film has grossed $32,251. [2]

Critical response

Song One received mixed reviews from critics. The review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes gives the film an approval rating of 33%, based on 51 reviews, with an average score of 5.29/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Song One has plenty of earnest charm, but that isn't enough to overcome its slight, familiar story." [10] The aggregator Metacritic gave the film a score of 48 out of 100, based on 22 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews". [11]

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  2. 1 2 3 "Song One (2015)". Box Office Mojo . Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  3. 1 2 Fleming Jr., Mike (January 16, 2014). "Sundance 2014: Fest Films With Highest Wanna-See From Buyers". Deadline Hollywood .
  4. 1 2 Berger, Laura. "'Song One' Director Kate Barker-Froyland on Rewriting Her Script for Anne Hathaway, Being Typecast as a "Woman Director"". Indiewire. Retrieved 9 March 2017.
  5. "Anne Hathaway begins filming Song One in New York City". SINA Corp. June 8, 2013.
  6. "Song One Soundtrack Out Now Featuring Songs by Jenny Lewis & Jonathan Rice, Performed by Johnny Flynn!". Film Music Daily. Lakeshore Records. January 13, 2015.
  7. Turman, Katherine (January 21, 2015). "Jenny Lewis and Johnathan Rice Give 7 'Non-Hits' to Song One". The Village Voice. Voice Media Group.
  8. Gallo, Phil (January 21, 2015). "Exclusive: Watch Anne Hathaway & Johnny Flynn in Song One Clip". Billboard. Prometheus Global Media.
  9. Bartyzel, Monika (January 23, 2015). "How Song One Rises above Lazy Cliches". The Week. The Week Publications.
  10. "Song One (2014)". Rotten Tomatoes . Retrieved 31 May 2020.
  11. "Song One (2014)". Metacritic . Retrieved January 22, 2015.