[Screen It]


(2000) (Janet McTeer, Aidan Quinn) (PG-13)

Blood/Gore Disrespectful/
Bad Attitude
Tense Scenes
Moderate Moderate Extreme *Moderate Moderate
Mild Minor Mild Minor Minor
Smoking Tense Family
Topics To
Talk About
Heavy Minor Minor Mild Moderate

Drama: Despite various obstacles and the initial reluctance of the locals, an early 20th century musicologist discovers the untapped music of the Appalachian Mountains and sets out to systematically document and record it.
It's 1907 and Dr. Lily Penleric (JANET McTEER) is a dedicated assistant professor and musicologist who's so upset when she's passed over again for a promotion that she packs up her bags and heads off to visit her sister who lives in the Appalachian mountains. Eleanor or Elna (JANE ADAMS) is a teacher who runs the Clover Settlement School with Harriet Tolliver (E. KATHERINE KERR), who's secretly her older, lesbian lover.

While Lily is a bit taken aback by that and the comparative primitive conditions of her sister's locale, she immediately forgets that when she hears an orphaned teen, Deladis Slocumb (EMMY ROSSUM), sing one of the folk songs that's been passed down through the generations of mountain folk. Realizing it and other such songs are unique, Americanized versions of the same English ballads she formerly taught, Lily decides to document and record as many of the songs as possible.

Accompanied by Deladis and Fate Honeycutt (GREG RUSSELL COOK), the local teen who's sweet on her, Lilly soon meets many of the neighboring residents, hoping they'll have more songs and information for her research that she ultimately hopes to have published.

Among them is Tom Bledsoe (AIDAN QUINN), a man who's been to the outside world and doesn't trust anyone from there; his grandmother Viney Butler (PAT CARROLL) who turns out to be a repository of sorts of such music; the very pregnant Alice Kincaid (STEPHANIE ROTH HABERLE) whose husband, Reese (MICHAEL HARDING), is cheating on her; and Earl Giddens (DAVID PATRICK KELLY) an educated local who works for Mr. McFarland (STEVE BOLES), a coal magnate who has many of the residents worried about his plans for their land

As Lily continues on her quest, she encounters various difficulties and obstacles, including Tom who initially doesn't trust her, but eventually becomes her lover, and discovers a few things about herself in the process.

Unless they're fans of someone in the cast, period dramas or folk/early country music, it's not very likely.
For sexual content and an intense scene of childbirth.
  • JANET McTEER plays a dedicated and systematic musicologist who sets out to document and record the local music of some Appalachian folk and finds herself falling for one of them.
  • AIDAN QUINN plays that man who's distrustful of all outsiders for fear of their ulterior motives. Seemingly unemployed, he enjoys sitting around, playing music and drinking, and eventually finds himself falling for Lily.
  • PAT CARROLL plays his wise, but uneducated grandmother who turns out to be a repository of sorts of the music Lily is interested in.
  • JANE ADAMS plays Lily's sister, a young woman who's moved to the mountains to help educate the local folk and turns out to be a lesbian.
  • E. KATHERINE KERR plays her older lesbian lover and fellow teacher.
  • EMMY ROSSUM plays a local, orphaned teen who beautifully sings various folk songs and helps Lily in her quest to document and record the music.
  • GREG RUSSELL COOK plays her somewhat shady boyfriend who's mean to her at times and is responsible for burning down the local school when he discovers that Elna and Harriet are lovers.
  • STEPHANIE ROTH HABERLE plays a local woman who's pregnant with her umpteenth child and must contend with her adulterous husband.
  • MICHAEL HARDING plays that husband.
  • DAVID PATRICK KELLY plays an educated local man who now works for a nearby coal company and comes off as sleazy and hard to trust by the others. He's drunk in one scene.


    Curious if this title is entertaining, any good, and/or has any artistic merit?
    Then read OUR TAKE of this film.

    (Note: The "Our Take" review of this title examines the film's artistic merits and does not take into account any of the possibly objectionable material listed below).

    Here's a quick look at the content found in this drama that's been rated PG-13. Two women are discovered to be lesbians and we see two partial encounters between them (one showing the younger woman's bare breast, the other some nuzzling and kissing between them). Several heterosexual couples also make out and it's somewhat hinted that they may have done more. A brief, non-explicit, sexual metaphor is made.

    Some characters with bad attitudes torch and burn down a school upon learning of the above lesbian couple, and other varying degrees of bad attitudes are also present. A few punches are thrown and some brief fighting occurs, guns are held on various people, and one woman shoots her lover dead (we don't see the actual killing).

    A few scenes, such as a bloody childbirth and a woman running frightened through the woods at night could be unsettling or tense to some younger viewers. Meanwhile, a few minor instances of profanity and colorful phrases are present, some characters drink (and appear drunk) and a few smoke.

    If you're still concerned about the film's appropriateness for anyone in your home after that summary, you may want to take a closer look at our detailed content listings for more specific information about what's present and occurs in the film.

  • We see that Tom and a friend are making moonshine with a still.
  • Tom drinks moonshine from a jug and appears intoxicated (he says he's celebrating when Lily asks if he's drunk). Later, she comments on him having the life, sitting around and getting drunk.
  • Tom shows up at a dance with a jug of moonshine and gives it to Viney. Later, we see her, Lily and others drinking and reacting to the strength of the liquor. Earl later shows up rather drunk as well, carrying a flask.
  • Tom loudly belches after eating.
  • As a woman is about to give birth, we see blood on her hands, legs and various parts of her clothing. Afterwards, Viney and Lily - who helped in the childbirth - have blood on their clothing (and Viney has some on her head).
  • Earn has a little bit of a bloody lip after Tom punches him.
  • We learn that Lilly has evidently been having an affair with one of her married colleagues.
  • Fate takes an ornamental hand fan that Lily gave to Deladis and tears it in half.
  • Tom initially has a bad attitude toward Lily, thinking she's there just to make a profit off their music.
  • Lily tells Elna that she's disgusting when she discovers that her sister is a lesbian.
  • Tired of trying to pull a cart carrying Lily's equipment up a steel hill, Fate purposefully flips it over, sending it careening and flipping down the hill.
  • Earl Giddens works for the coal company and offers a poor family just $50 dollars for their one hundred acres of land.
  • McFarland states that educating "these savages" (the locals) is a waste of time and money.
  • We learn that a local man, Reese, is apparently having an affair (not long after his wife has given birth to their latest child).
  • Fate and another man throw lit torches into the schoolhouse, catching it on fire and causing it to burn to the ground (in response to discovering that Elna and Harriet are lovers).
  • A woman shoots her lover dead.
  • Scenes listed under "Violence" may also be tense or unsettling to some viewers, although younger kids are more likely to find them that way than adults.
  • A somewhat bloody childbirth scene, where the mother screams in pain, may be unsettling for some viewers.
  • As Lily walks home at night through the woods, she hears the sounds of what she believes to be a panther (earlier described in the film) and then frantically runs through the woods, discarding some of her clothing (after remembering the instructions to do just that), all while a bit of suspenseful music plays.
  • Fate and another man throw lit torches into the schoolhouse, catching it on fire and causing it to burn to the ground (in response to discovering that Elna and Harriet are lovers).
  • Rifles/Shotguns/Knives: Carried and/or used to threaten or kill others. See "Violence" for details.
  • Phrases: "Get the hell out of my yard," "Where the hell have you been?" and "Whores."
  • Tom loudly belches after eating.
  • Fate and another man throw lit torches into the schoolhouse, catching it on fire and causing it to burn to the ground (in response to discovering that Elna and Harriet are lovers).
  • As Fate and Lily walk through the woods at night, a gun is suddenly aimed at them.
  • A mild amount of suspenseful and ominous music plays in a few scenes.
  • Viney sings some old folk song about someone taking out a sword, lopping off someone's head and kicking it against the wall.
  • At least 4 hells, 1 damn, 3 uses of "Oh God" and 1 use each of "Lord," "Oh my God, "Oh good Lord" and "Oh my Lord" as exclamations.
  • Lily comes home, opens the door and finds Elna and Harriet in a lesbian encounter (we briefly see Elna's bare breasts as she stands before Harriet who's in bed).
  • Viney tells a woman who's just given birth that she'll have to keep her husband away from her, adding that, "If you don't want butter, you gotta pull the dasher out in time" (a metaphor for withdrawal that causes them to laugh).
  • Fate and some woman go running off into the woods at night (presumably to fool around and which makes Deladis upset).
  • After discarding many layers of her clothes at night in the woods (upon hearing what she believes to be a panther and following earlier directions of how to escape from it by using one's clothing as a distraction), we see Lily in a loose-fitting, small top that shows some cleavage. She then runs into Tom and they then passionately kiss. We later see them walking through the woods as she collects and put those clothes back on, so we don't know if they did anything more than kiss (as we see some playful kissing between them).
  • Tom and Lily passionately kiss while seated on the ground and we then later see them lying on the ground doing the same (both are clothed).
  • At the same time, we see Deladis and Fate making out, as well as Elna and Harriet playfully interacting and then kissing. We then see those two women sensuously kissing with Elna partially undressing Harriet with her mouth (she pulls a lace string with it) but we don't see any nudity (although there's some nuzzling of the neck).
  • Tom smokes a pipe twice, while McFarland smokes a cigar and a few miscellaneous characters also smoke.
  • Tom states that his first wife died during childbirth and later mentions another wife dying.
  • The way music had to be recorded back near the turn of the 20th century (on cylinders).
  • The efforts around the turn of 20th century of people from the big city trying to "save" the poor, urban folk living in the country and mountains.
  • Lily being an independent and self-assured woman who was obviously ahead of her time.
  • Lesbianism.
  • Fate takes an ornamental hand fan that Lily gave to Deladis and tears it in half.
  • Tom's friend briefly holds a gun on Fate and Lily when they stumble across their still (but they let them go).
  • Viney briefly holds a gun on Earl when he shows up.
  • Tired of trying to pull a cart carrying Lily's equipment up a steel hill, Fate purposefully flips it over, sending it careening and flipping down the hill.
  • Upset at the way Earl is treating some others in a business transaction, Fate pulls a knife and charges at him, but Earl grabs him, bends his arm behind him, has his arm around Fate's neck, and holds a pistol to his head. Another man then aims a gun at Earl, telling him to let go and Earl does so, pushing Fate to the ground.
  • After seeing Earl drunkenly pestering Lily at a dance and not taking no for an answer, Tom gets up and punches Earl in the face. Earl then tries to hit him back, but hits another man instead when Tom ducks. Tom then punches him again and others then get into a larger scale fight (although we mostly hear, rather than see the punches).
  • Lily tries slapping at Tom while mad at him.
  • A woman holds a gun on Lily and Deladis when they stop by for an unexpected visit.
  • Fate and another man throw lit torches into the schoolhouse, catching it on fire and causing it to burn to the ground (in response to discovering that Elna and Harriet are lovers).
  • A woman suddenly walks up and shoots a man dead (we don't see the actual shot or impact, but briefly see the ensuing funeral service).

  • Reviewed June 22, 2000 / Posted July 6, 2001

    Other new and recent reviews include:

    [The Batman] [Cyrano] [Studio 666] [The Cursed] [Dog] [Uncharted]

    Privacy Statement and Terms of Use and Disclaimer
    By entering this site you acknowledge to having read and agreed to the above conditions.

    All Rights Reserved,
    ©1996-2022 Screen It, Inc.