Thursday, December 1, 2022

In short: A Love Song (2022)

Faye (Dale Dickey) spends a very quiet time – apart from a radio that always seems to play the appropriate song and the birds, of course – at a camping ground by the side of a lake and next to some mountains somewhere in Colorado. She occupies her time fishing, stargazing, and birdwatching, thinking about the husband she lost seven years ago. But mostly, she’s waiting, for she hopes to meet up with Lito (Wes Studi), a friend – a former flame, really – who has also lost his partner some time ago. She’s clearly hoping to rekindle the old crush, the old friendship, or just something inside of herself. While Faye is waiting, she makes the acquaintance of a group of cowhands whose little sister speaks for them, a lesbian couple (Michelle Wilson and Benja K. Thomas) on the cusp of agreeing to get married (or not), and, of course, the postman (John Way).

Eventually, Lito arrives.

Writer/director Max Walker-Silverman’s quiet and thoughtful meditation about aging, love and the way we relate to our pasts and the people in it is an utterly lovely film. I am a bit surprised that a filmmaker on his debut is so well able to get into the mindsets of characters very much his seniors, their concerns and ways to look at life (or to avoid looking at life, as may be the case), but there it is.

Dickey, a supporting actor in so many films, projects an incredible sense of genuine vulnerability, the kind of low key human doubts and feelings that are furthest from melodramatic expression, but are nonetheless just as deep and meaningful. She is the perfect fit for this film’s more laconic and low key approach to life and its turning points, showing emotions in quiet ways that more often than not don’t need dialogue or dramatic invention, indeed become truer without them.

The film is also utterly beautiful to look at, connecting natural beauty to a moment of great change in a person in a way that simply feels right. Again, there’s a lack of external melodrama here, so there’s no new age-y aspect in the way Faye relates to nature; it’s more matter-of-fact, and much closer to the truth of her life thereby.

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