Directed and written by Max Walker-Silverman, A Love Song stars Dale Dickey, Wes Studi, Michelle Wilson, Benja K. Thomas, John Way, and Marty Grace Dennis. It’s part of the Premieres section at this year’s Sundance Film Festival.
At a lakeside in the mountains, Faye (Dale Dickey) has adopted a routine. Every day, she wakes up in her camper, brews coffee, catches crawfish for dinner, and turns the dial on her old radio, hoping for any hint of a song. The wide shots of the dark blue waters and wildlife suggest that she lives in isolation, but she’s not. She’s staying at a camping grounds—Campsite 7 to be exact—to meet someone from her past. The only issue is that she doesn’t know what he looks like anymore. She doesn’t even know when or if he’ll even come. The only clues she has are that he drives a small, silver car and has a big, black dog.
Just as Faye is about to give up, a mysterious man shows up with a bouquet in his hand and from there, Lito (Wes Studi) and Faye—both widowed—spend 24 hours reminiscing about love, losses, and what it means to be lonely.
Max Walker-Silverman’s debut feature, A Love Song, is a story about healing and how both community and isolation equally contribute to the process. The film only has a small array of side characters, but they’re all joyous and memorable despite having less screen time. A family of cowboys give Faye a canoe in exchange for her truck’s engine, a chatty lesbian couple invites her over to dinner at their campsite, and a friendly mailman stops by every day, even though he never has a letter for her. Despite not knowing each other for long, they eagerly bring Faye out of her isolation.
What makes A Love Song so impactful is its quietness, particularly between the two leads. Not much dialogue is exchanged, but there doesn’t need to be. Body language is all that’s necessary to tell us there’s something special between the two, and those feelings still exist even after being alone for decades. Their emotions radiate through their eyes, telling their life stories without the use of words. Cinematographer Alfonso Herrera Salcedo brilliantly uses light to accentuate their feelings even further.
A Love Song says so much with so few words. Walker-Silverman crafts a film that is both poignant and hopeful about the process of healing from grief. Loneliness is a complex feeling, and Dickey and Studi give career bests displaying opposite sides of the spectrum. Can one night together really cure years of sadness? No, but it’s certainly an eye-opener for your own personal journey.
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