- Elf 2017
The Song of Sway Lake
Michael Bederman, Zak Kilberg, Allison Rose Carter, Ari Gold, Anne Bernstein (executive), Garrett P. Fennelly (executive) for Grack Films, Act Zero Films, Social Construct
directed by Ari Gold
starring Rory Culkin, Robert Sheehan, Isabelle McNally, Elizabeth Peña, Mary Beth Peil, Jack Falahee, Anna Shields, Jason Brill, Brian Dennehy (voice), Zak Kilberg, Jamel King, Olivia Mogul, Gretel Wilson, Bob Foley, Anne Vaccaro, Cynthia Mandel, Kasey Kenyon, Robert Forgett, Keith Mueller, John W. Bard, Karen Lordi-Kirkham, Paul H. Roalsvig, Gary Arzberger
written by Ari Gold, Elizabeth Bull, music by Ethan Gold, songs by John Grant, The Staves
The Sways were once the most prominent family in the small town, and
the richest, so rich that they owned the lake which was thus named after
them. But that's long in the past, back in World War II when Hal Sway
(voiced by Brian Dennehy), dashing war hero, married young Charlie (Mary
Beth Peil), and for their wedding, a then popular swing vocalist (voiced
by John Grant) recorded a 78 just for them, a record that has never been
released - or even played or taken out of its wrappings ...
mentioned, this was long ago, now it's 1992, Hal didn't survive the war,
his son Tim (Jason Brill) has only recently died in a car accident while
wasting all his time away collecting records ... and now Tim's son Ollie
(Rory Culkin), like his father a record collector lacking a goal in life,
comes to the (by now mostly empty) family estate on Sway lake to track
down that very record which he feels the ultimate testament to his and his
father's passion. He brings with him Nikolai (Robert Sheehan), a
womanizing and larger than life Russian immigrant who's also a true friend
to him - and he soon finds a girl he falls in love with, Isadora (Isabelle
McNally), maid at a resort across the lake.
Everything could be so much
fun ... but then grandma Charlie arrives at the estate as well. She has
fallen on hard times and hopes to sell the place, but figures the unique
record could make her a lot of money and save her from having to do so and
preserve her pseudo-aristocratic dignity. But now she's in a race with
Ollie to find the record, and finds an unlikely ally in Nikolai, who's
fascinated by her and yet has his own agenda, while Ollie finds an even
more unlikely ally in Charlie's maid Marlena (Elizabeth Pena), who's not
at all ok with her employer's constant scheming.
So in this most idyllic
location, set to most romantic swing music, everything heads for chaos ...
or does it?
The Song of Sway Lake is a movie that falls
between many a chair, it's romance and drama, soap opera and
(pseudo-)musical all in one, peppered with some coming-of-age elements and
nostalgia for a long-gone musical era - and yet it falls very softly,
coming up with an entirely charming yet by no means saccharine melange
that thanks to a well-conceived script lets one care for and laugh with
the main characters without painting black and white images of good and
evil, instead telling a compelling story where the vintage soundtrack is
skillfully embedded into the narrative rather than just accompanying it.
and all of this makes this a movie that's very easy to enjoy!