There is no hopeless romantic. Hope is what romance is built on, the hope that you will find the person who fills that missing part of your life, or warms something inside of you, or just makes the dull roar of the world go away. There’s certainly nothing hopeless about Dale Dickey’s painfully upbeat performance in A love songa rare and beautiful portrait of holding on to the promise of romance even if it seems impossible.
In movies as diverse as Palm Springs and winter bone, Dickey’s face has become a cinematic shorthand for a certain kind of weather-worn, Western to Midwestern, hard-lived working life. But that’s the kind of life that when you’re trying to put together an Oscar-winning movie about the trials of people who are mumblingly dubbed ‘white trash’, you’re either in a side character or a back-up role. -plan, as very skilful dressage. It’s borderline criminal that she’s never had the opportunity to hold a film alone, and she does it from the first moments of A love song. As Faye, she had a life, probably more lows than highs, and that’s how she ended up camping by a lake in Colorado, catching crawfish, drinking coffee, waiting mail (it is far enough away for it to be delivered on horseback) and for a particular letter. One she hopes will happen, but doesn’t know, one from old flame Lito (the equally iconic Studi).
A love song doesn’t deal in flippant platitudes, though South by Southwest’s award-winning director Max Walker-Silverman undoubtedly leaves the audience happy (there’s a running joke about an engine that dances borderline silly but remains dumb). charming side). Dickey and Studi together are shy and tender, ready to rekindle a spark that has been burning within them for decades. However, that implies it’s a duo, and as wonderful as Studi is as flower-wearing Godot finally arrives, it’s Dickey’s movie. Stripped of her simplest desires, Faye is a bare soul with a life well lived, unsure if she is tugging at the past or shaping a new future in what little time she has left. There’s no sickness countdown or artificial motivation like that: she’s just at that age when chances don’t come around very often. Dickey understands that Faye has no time to regret, even as she sits by an empty lake, talking to herself, naming birds, trapping crayfish and checking the mail. It’s not something to regret, nor wasted time. It is hope.
And it’s A love song. It’s beautiful, calm, tender and carried by this rejection of the idea of despair. You don’t have to believe in any particular romance, he whispers, to still believe in romance.