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After being denied a promotion at the university where she teaches, Doctor Lily Penleric, a brilliant musicologist, impulsively visits her sister, who runs a struggling rural school in Appalachia. There she stumbles upon the discovery of her life -- a treasure trove of ancient Scots-Irish ballads, songs that have been handed down from generation to generation, preserved intact by the seclusion of the mountains. With the goal of securing her promotion, Lily ventures into the most isolated areas of the mountains to collect the songs and finds herself increasingly enchanted -- not only by the… More
Rotten Tomatoes Score: 74%

Critic Reviews from Rotten Tomatoes

"Like the main character, it's stodgy and didactic -- and full of grace and surprises."
‑ Lisa Alspector, Chicago Reader
"A wonderfully crafted movie in a minor key."
‑ Roger Moore, Orlando Sentinel
"an uneven path, like the mountainous scenery itself"
‑ John A. Nesbit, Old School Reviews
"This slice of trenchant Americana, grabs you by your lapels, churns you up a bit, and soon has you slapping your knees with blissful exuberance"
‑ Brandon Judell, Detour Magazine
"Songcatcher is better than 75% of films in theaters today, blending the earthy integrity of the rural poor with the honest performances of a talented cast."
‑ John R. McEwen, Film Quips Online
"Songcatcher unfolds at a leisurely but enjoyable pace, its dramatic contrivances never pushed too hard by director Maggie Greenwald."
‑ Dennis Harvey, Variety
"Tall, big-boned Janet McTeer ... is the ideal actress to play Lily Penleric."
‑ Edward Guthmann, San Francisco Chronicle
"Never overcomes its overly familiar story and structure, even with some catchy traditional music generously spread throughout."
‑ Michael Dequina,
"the presentation [of mountain music]evokes its deep emotions and a beauty that comes from life experience, not the pre-packaged pap courtesy of slick marketing types."
‑ Andrea Chase, Killer Movie Reviews
"Such a lyrical, moving independent film is a rare thing to find; Songcatcher is gorgeously made, perfectly cast and thoroughly engaging."
‑ Rich Cline, Film Threat
"No matter how purely sung, the music keeps getting lost in the melodrama."
‑ Rick Groen, Globe and Mail
"A beautifully crafted story about a time and place rarely captured on film."
‑ Paul Clinton (,
"In this exceptional film, mercifully free of the usual warm and fuzzy movie sentimentality, director Maggie Greenwald and her fine cast shatter most hillbilly stereotypes."
‑ Frank Lovece, TV Guide's Movie Guide
"Buy the soundtrack. Skip the film."
‑ Kimberley Jones, Austin Chronicle
"Though writer/director Maggie Greenwald wraps her story around a wincingly trite yarn ... she keeps her film afloat by focusing on the music. But, when the tunes stop, so does the magic."
‑ Rachel Deahl, Boxoffice Magazine
More reviews for Songcatcher on Rotten Tomatoes