July 07, 2015

Jackie and Ryan (2014)

Jackie and Ryan (2014) - Movie Review
Directed by: Ami Canaan Mann
Country: USA

Movie Review: “Jackie and Ryan”, the third feature film from writer-director Ami Canaan Mann, ends exactly as it starts, leaning on the same soft tones, which are never subjected to a variation along the story. Ben Barnes plays Ryan Brenner, a musician that travels in an open freight car, in winter, heading to Ogden, Utah, to see his long-time fellow, Cowboy, who meanwhile left his wife and little baby to try his luck on the road. Ryan won’t see or play no more with his mate whose story ends tragically, but will experience love when fate leads him to Jackie Lorel, dimly portrayed by Katherine Heigl, a former pop singer whose success a few years back allowed her to buy a valuable condominium in New York. Jackie is far from having a relaxed life. With a little daughter, she’s in the middle of a complicated divorce and struggles with financial problems. The approximation of Ryan, who also gains some inspiration to write his own music, will function as a stimulant for Jackie, now encouraged and determined to resolve her life. Sensitive but too moderate, “Jackie and Ryan” strolls on the edge of banality at the sound of folk melodies, threatening to dive into that obvious abyss. Ultimately, Ms. Canaan Mann wasn’t able to avoid this fatal step since the film remains in its folkie breezes and emotional torpor while trying to fabricate a couple of sweet romantic episodes and resolute moves. The script proved to have something to give, but the approach didn’t reveal a qualified maturity to consistently address the protagonists’ attachment and simultaneously create tension through their economic woes. Moreover, I found Ryan a considerably stronger character than Jackie, which contributed for the unevenness of the whole picture. The filmmaker engenders a happy finale for “Jackie and Ryan”, yet this very American drama fails to find its own melodies.

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