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Songcatcher showcases a gentler but no less determined feminism. The time is 1907, and Lily Penleric (Janet McTeer), a doctor of musicology, flees male-dominated academia for Appalachia, where her sister (Jane Adams) runs a school. Lily’s cool manner is thawed by the mountain people, including Aidan Quinn as a widowed musician and a superb Pat Carroll as his grandma. But it’s the music spun from English and Scottish folk ballads that holds Lily. Writer-director Maggie Greenwald glories in these sounds, notably those of singer Emmy Rossum, 13, in her acting debut. McTeer and the transporting music hold you in thrall.


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