Review: ‘A Love Song,’ starring Dale Dickey and Wes Studi

August 20, 2022

by Carla Hay

Wes Studi and Dale Dickey in “A Love Song” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

“A Love Song”

Directed by Max Walker-Silverman

Culture Representation: Taking place in Colorado, the dramatic film “A Love Song” features a cast of predominantly white characters (with one Native American and a two African Americans) representing the working-class and middle-class.

Culture Clash: A widow, who’s in her 60s, hopes to reconnect with a man she had romantic feelings for when they both went to the same high school, even though they haven’t seen each other since high school. 

Culture Audience: “A Love Song” will appeal primarily to people interested in quiet and unassuming movies about taking risks and not giving up hope when it comes to finding love.

Dale Dickey, Marty Grace Dennis, Scout Engbring, Gregory Hope, Jesse Hope and Sam Engbring in “A Love Song” (Photo courtesy of Bleecker Street)

“A Love Song” is a very low-key treasure of a movie that has as much to say in its long silences as it does in authentic-sounding dialogue between two would-be lovers who reunite after not seeing each other for decades. It’s not a movie that will appeal to people who expect a lot of fast-paced excitement or surprising drama. “A Love Song” is best appreciated by viewers who enjoy watching “slice of life movies” focusing on everyday people. It’s also a movie that skillfully blends the hopeful dreams and harsh realities that people can experience when looking for love. Before its official release, “A Love Song” made the rounds at several film festivals, including the 2022 Sundance Film Fesitval, where “A Love Song” had its world premiere.

Written and directed by Max Walker-Silverman, “A Love Song” has a very uncomplicated plot: A recently widowed woman in her 60s named Faye (played by Dale Dickey) camps out at a remote location in southwestern Colorado, where she hopes to reunite with a man whom she had a crush on when they were students at the same high school. (“A Love Sing” was filmed on location in Colorado.) Faye is at this isolated, desert-like location because years ago, Faye and her would-be beau Lito (played by Wes Studi) agreed they would meet each other there if they ever decided they want to see each other again.

The movie trailer for “A Love Song” already reveals that this reunion does take place. Lito shows up after Faye patiently waits for an untold number of days because he got a letter from Faye asking him to meet her there. Lito is also recently widowed. He’s also brought his dog with him named Huck. Faye and Lito’s attraction to each other still has some sparks after all these years of not seeing each other. It’s eventually revealed in the movie if Faye and Lito end up having a romantic relationship with each other.

During Faye’s waiting vigil for Lito in her camping spot, she encounters some memorable and quirky characters. First, some ranchers (four men and their teenage sister) arrive and ask Faye to move her camper vehicle because their father’s body is buried underneath the camper vehicle. A construction site is obscuring the view of this makeshift grave, so the siblings want to move the body to a location with an unobscured view of the gravesite.

The teenage sister is named Dice (played by Marty Grace Dennis), and she speaks on behalf of her unnamed brothers, who do not say anything in the movie. The four brothers are portrayed by Sam Engbring, Scout Engbring, Gregory Hope and Jesse Hope. Dice has a formal Old West way of talking that might remind people of the Mattie character (played by Oscar-nominated Hailee Steinfeld) in the 2010 remake of “True Grit.” Let’s be clear though: No one is getting an Oscar nomination for “A Love Song,” because it’s the type of low-budget, independent film that isn’t trying to be a showboating, “Oscar-bait” movie.

The other people whom Faye meet during her campout are a lesbian couple named Marie (played by Benja K. Thomas) and Jan (played by Michelle Wilson), who are camping not too far away from Faye. Marie tells Faye that Jan was supposed to propose marriage on this camping trip. Faye finds out about some of the problems in Marie and Jan’s relationship. These revelations somewhat affect how Faye thinks about having a long-term committed romance again. Faye also has brief encounters with a mail deliverer named Postman Sam (played by John Way), who delivers a letter to her in a very ironic moment.

“A Love Song” has long stretches showing Faye in solitude and doing mundane things, such as eating around a campfire or reading. Dickey is such a wonderfully expressive actress that she can tell an entire story from her facial expressions and body language without saying a word. Although “A Love Song” gives significant screen time to Lito (and Studi is quite good in this role), this is really a movie about Faye and her personal journey in deciding what she thinks will make her happy in this new chapter in her life.

Bleecker Street and Stage 6 Films released “A Love Song” in select U.S. cinemas on July 29, 2022. The movie is set for release on digital and VOD on September 27, 2022.

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