The Thing Called Love (1993) River Phoenix, Samantha Mathis, Dermot Mulroney, Sandra Bullock Movie Review

The Thing Called Love (1993)   3/53/53/53/53/5

Samantha Mathis and Dermot Mulroney in The Thing Called Love (1993)

Nashville or Bust

Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis), no relation, arrives in Nashville from New York with a dream of becoming a Country song writer but immediately discovers the harsh reality when she is late for the first try out at the club which Lucy (K.T. Oslin) runs. Despite the first of a series of rejections Miranda not only becomes friends with Lucy but also makes friends with a fellow group of struggling singer-songwriters; Linda Lue Linden (Sandra Bullock), Kyle Davidson (Dermot Mulroney) and James Wright (River Phoenix). But she also finds herself not only having to deal with both Kyle and James falling for her but also a mistake when one night she ends up getting married to one of them.

Let me hit you with two facts about "The Thing Called Love"; firstly it was the last movie which River Phoenix completed and secondly it failed to make its money back when it was released. Now there are probably a variety of reasons for its failure to make a profit but for me there are two clear reasons. Firstly there is the story of a struggling song writer in Nashville as whilst the story has plenty of entertainment and ups and downs it is so drawn out with scenes which fail to add anything to the movie that at times it ends up drifting along and becoming boring as it struggles to go anywhere.

Sandra Bullock and Samantha Mathis in The Thing Called Love (1993)

The other reason for me is River Phoenix who reportedly turned up to the first day of filming high. Unfortunately for me it felt like Phoenix was out of it for most of the movie and that came across as a lot of over acting and even more mumbling which some might say was him playing the character but for me was wrong. It stood out against the acting of the others and not in a good way with his performing of the songs more like watching a young Mick Jagger wriggle on stage than a country singer.

It is a shame that Phoenix's performance ends up feeling wring as the trio of Mathis, Bullock and Mulroney play their parts well and bring a pleasant mix of drama, emotion and humour to their roles. In fact watching "The Thing Called Love" now has the added amusement of watching Bullock playing Linda Lue Linden the sort of character she mocked in a later movie.

What this all boils down to is that "The Thing Called Love" is not a bad movie but it is a movie with clear problems which make it less entertaining that it should be and for me contributed to why it didn't make a profit when first released.