Life With Music (2019) – Film Review
Director: Claude Lalonde
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Katie Holmes, Giancarlo Esposito
by Roger Crow / @RogerCrow
A famous pianist struggling with stage fright late in his career finds inspiration with a free-spirited music critic. That’s the premise behind Patrick Stewart’s new movie, which has a lot going for it.
Katie Holmes lights up every scene she’s in as said journalist, Helen Morrison. Her adoration of pianist Henry Cole (Stewart) is obvious, and little wonder. The man is a genius, but it’s obvious from the first few minutes he has a problem. Standing in a back alley, shaken to his core, he struggles to regain his composure after a performance. Thankfully everyone he meets is either a fan or becomes aware of his greatness after he has wafted through their life.
“Easy on the eyes”
His agent, Paul (Giancarlo Esposito) obviously loves him, and not just because he takes a percentage of the great man’s income. Cole works his magic on everyone, despite the fact he’s so absorbed by his mortality it’s scant consolation.
The soundtrack is wonderful. A piano score which stitches together scenes like silken audio thread. And then there’s the Swiss backdrop. It’s so easy on the eyes, with Cole pottering about dealing with his problems, and basking in the memories of his life, and the dreamy face of Ms Morrison, that I wonder if I’d have been happier with the great Yorkshireman doing a piece to camera and telling us why Switzerland is so wonderful like one of those ITV celeb travelogues which Joanna Lumley does so well.
If there is a roadmap to the film, it unfolds at the 40-minute mark as I realise what our seasoned hero plans to do. Or not.
“Warm and fuzzy”
As a Trek fan it’s hard not to be reminded of Sir Pat’s turn in ‘Just Good Things’, the feature-length finale of The Next Generation, when our hero was addled with a condition which saw him phasing between timelines. Ill be honest, Stewart can perform pages from the phone book and it’ll be worth watching. And if Katie Holmes wants to stare adoringly at him for 90 minutes while a drone films gorgeous Switzerland to the strains of a glorious piano concerto, then count me in.
Yes, it might be a big film about one man reflecting on his genius and lost loves, but I’m sure that while doing the washing up on a rain-lashed day, I’ll reflect on the movie and feel warm and fuzzy.
There’s just something about watching actors at the top of their game with a great script and a director who knows that dialogue doesn’t need to be in every scene to make a great movie.
A shame about the name, which is far worse than the overly enigmatic aka, ‘Coda’. Personally I think ‘All Good Things’ would have worked just fine… again.