In A Love Song, a letter connects two people who haven’t seen each other in decades. Over time, it’s easy to forget the contours of a person—how they look, how they move, how they say their name. But like from a past life, they sometimes fit back into the picture and maybe even replace something that has been missing for quite some time.
Directed by Max Walker-Silverman, A Love Song is a quiet but stirring fable of reunion, love, and time set against the backdrop of the American West. What the film lacks in its sparse script, it more than makes up for in the two actors who share most of the screen time together.
A Love Song (2022): Movie Review
A Love Song is anchored by the lead performances of Dale Dickey as Faye and Wes Studi as Lita. The pair are to meet in the shadow of the Colorado mountains. Faye, who has known Lita for decades and not seen him for just as long, has been a widow for seven years. When Lito finally arrives at her camp, it begins some exploration as the two get reacquainted and maybe even realize that Faye asking Lito out years ago in elementary school foreshadowed their feelings for each other years later.
Faye’s routine, parked at Camp 7, is shown at the beginning of the film. Every morning she makes coffee on the stove and cooks crawfish that she caught from the lake outside her trailer. She waits for something in the mail and joins the couple for dinner, telling them it’s been years (“decades enough to last”) since she’s seen, Lita.
This does well in building anticipation for Lito’s upcoming arrival. Like Faye, the audience wants him to make it to Camp 7. She’s clearly excited, and Dickey fills Faye with a kind of childlike wonder as if her waiting for the man she knew in her youth has allowed him to resurface. During one pretend play, Faye stands up as a car approaches, sipping coffee to get the taste of crawfish out of her mouth while tucking her hair behind her ears. It’s not Lito yet, and she returns to her routine, ignoring the mountains on the horizon in favor of something less tangible.
The naturalism and gorgeous setting of Love Story immediately evoke Chloé Zhao’s critically acclaimed Nomadland, even if it fails to live up to that film’s lofty ideas. Still, the American West and the myths associated with it are a worthy backdrop for a story as seemingly vast as Faye and Lito’s. The decades that have passed since the pair saw each other tear through each other’s actions like mountains that populate the background. The time of their reunion only hurts with more immediacy, as if another day could bring another decade when they might not see each other again.
Though the script can be sparse, Dickey is charming and brilliant in her role as Faye, allowing the veteran actor — best known for small roles in everything from Breaking Bad to Winter’s Bone to Iron Man 3 — to really shine as the aloof borderline. woman. Dickey couldn’t have had a better on-screen partner in the Studio.
The pair’s meeting, which takes place over the course of one day, is wonderfully portrayed as they play a game of getting to know each other again after so many years. Unfortunately, A Love Song doesn’t let that day linger too long. Maybe that’s the point, but I still feel like the movie is selling itself a little short when it comes to its central relationship. Whatever A Love Song lacks in execution, it more than makes up for stellar performances and beautifully directed set pieces. “A Love Song.”
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