TORONTO FILM FESTIVAL: ‘Can a Song Save Your Life?’ Hits Some Big Notes!

CanASongSaveYourLife_ImageImmediately following last year’s Oscar ceremony in which “Argo” emerged victorious, I released my Year-In-Advanced predictions in which I named John Carney’s upcoming “Can a Song Save Your Life?” as a highly anticipated contender.  As I’m sure many of our readers are, I simply fell in love with Carney’s Oscar-winning “Once” and was looking forward to his next endeavor with Keira Knightley, Mark Ruffalo, and Hailee Steinfeld.

Fast forward to this weekend, the film has screened and critics and viewers are loving it in a big way.  In bigger news, The Weinstein Company has picked up the North American rights to distribute the film after an all-night bidding according to Deadline.

Could we have a late entry into the race or just a strong Golden Globe contender?  You decide. I can’t wait.

Kevin Jagernauth of The Playlist wasn’t too keen on it.

“Can A Song Save Your Life?” is a rhetorical question in the grand scheme of a film that offers little stakes. We meet all the characters at their lowest point straight from the start, and unless Carney was planning on taking his picture to some dark places, it’s always clear that sunnier skies are ahead for all involved. And this predictability, combined with lukewarm, forgettable tunes and a slightly unfocused screenplay (which doesn’t benefit from credit reel scenes that nearly undo the entire motivation of everything in the movie) this a ‘Song’ that’s decent enough on a first listen, but won’t have you hitting replay immediately afterward. [C]

Scott Feinberg of The Hollywood Reporter says Mark Ruffalo could win the Oscar:

But, for my money, Ruffalo steals the show with a complex and endearing supporting performance that could earn him an Oscar. God knows he’s been worthy of one on at least two occasions in the past, with You Can Count on Me (2000), for which he wasn’t even nominated, and The Kids Are All Right (2010), for which he was — but he’s even better in this film. And he’s the sort of actors’ actor and stand-up guy whom the community would love a good excuse to recognize.

Drew McWeeny of HitFix gives the film an “A” and says:

It should not come as any surprise that John Carney, who wrote and directed “Once,” has made another great film that focuses on songwriters and the way their lives influence their work, and I love that it doesn’t feel like he’s just trying to reproduce that movie’s charms. This is a “bigger” film, in the sense that it stars people you’ll recognize from big mainstream blockbuster films, but it has just as pure and open a heart as “Once,” and as I walked out of the Princess Of Wales theater tonight, I had that same feeling, that sudden belief that the answer to the question posed by the film’s title, “Can A Song Save Your Life?”, is a resounding yes.