Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 21 out of 27
  2. Negative: 2 out of 27
  1. Reviewed by: Frank Lovece
    In a film mercifully free of the usual warm and fuzzy movie sentimentality, director Maggie Greenwald and her fine cast shatter most hillbilly stereotypes.
  2. It's a highly professional project complete with exquisite production details and superb actors, yet its subject matter is so far out of the mainstream, it feels almost radical.
  3. This is not just a musicologist's dream; it's our dream, too.
  4. 80
    McTeer and the transporting music hold you in thrall.
  5. Has enough virtues to make it successful, including an unusual story and some fine acting, especially by the powerful Janet McTeer.
  6. The haunting beauty of the music, and the people who produce it – that's the chapter and verse of this story.
  7. Combines strong feminist sensibilities with surprisingly old-fashioned melodrama.
  8. 75
    Perhaps too laden with messages for its own good, but it has many moments of musical beauty, and it's interesting to watch Janet McTeer.
  9. 75
    Any film about the folk tradition is required to have a stellar soundtrack, and Songcatcher does not disappoint.
  10. Reviewed by: Connie Ogle
    It may not get top billing, but glorious music is the star of Songcatcher, an intriguing and often lovely film.
  11. Essential viewing for anyone who cares about American popular music and its roots.
  12. Greenwald's film is filled with an infectious love for the region's songs. It could hardly be otherwise, given the level of musical talent she recruited for Songcatcher.
  13. Greenwald is fine at creating the texture of early mountain life but loses her footing by embracing several plot points at once.
  14. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    Somewhat sanitized but gorgeous Americana, with another impressive turn by McTeer.
  15. Whenever the movie threatens to become just another visit to hillbilly-land, the music starts up and the film's gentle, irresistible wonder takes hold. Songcatcher is a film very much worth catching.
  16. The music is truly the thing in Songcatcher and it's awesome, haunting stuff.
  17. 70
    Best seen as a performance movie, featuring music (by Iris DeMent and Taj Mahal, among others) too wonderful to be overpowered by director Maggie Greenwald's plodding direction and leaden screenplay.
  18. Songcatcher is a sweet, lyrical ode to rural America in the early 1900's.
  19. Reviewed by: Dennis Harvey
    Unfolds at a leisurely but enjoyable pace, its dramatic contrivances never pushed too hard.
  20. There are mountain tunes as powerful as moonshine to be enjoyed in Songcatcher -- but there's also a mighty mushy heap of corn pone to be swallowed.
  21. Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    With a half-dozen characters sorting out life's woes, the pacing is a couple of beats faster than languorous — just enough to sustain one's interest.
  22. 60
    For the most part, it's when the women do the singing -- that Songcatcher really comes alive.
  23. For a film expressly about an underappreciated culture, there are some boulder-size cliches rolling down these hills.
  24. 40
    Songcatcher is like an "All Things Considered" report on "a vibrant and lasting folk tradition" that goes on for two hours. It's so relentlessly, goddamn worthy that you long for some cheapness and dirt, some energetic pop trash to liven it up.
  25. The commonest sort of cultural pasteurization.
  26. A good subject has been ill-served by Ms. Greenwald's cliched script and clumsy direction.
  27. It's all infuriatingly simplistic, and the performances help matters little. Quinn and McTeer are wholly uncompelling.
User Score

Universal acclaim- based on 30 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 19 out of 20
  2. Mixed: 0 out of 20
  3. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. KathyO.
    Nov 18, 2007
    Simpy very well written.
  2. KennethfromGA
    Jun 18, 2007
    Wonderful music, reminded me of my childhood, when my family sang. Its sad that a good movie was ruined because of Hollywood thinking that they have to put a lesbian thing in just to appeal to a vocal minority. Full Review »
  3. RobertW.
    Nov 25, 2006
    This is a truly awesome film the likes of which I have not seen before. The film portrays such a deep seated belief that this is how it happened wherever the folk song collectors worked whether it be in the appalachian mountains or in deepest english rural communities. A must keep film for all enthusiats of traditional song. Robert Berry, Wiltshire Folk Arts, England. Full Review »