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Film Review: The Thing Called Love – A Lesser Known Gem

Film Review: The Thing Called Love 

The Thing Called Love is a lesser-known film about friendship, love, growing up and country music. It was also the last film River Phoenix completed before his tragic death. The film was a flop at the time of its release but has since built a bit of a cult following. A sweet story with a great cast and a lot of heart.

The Thing Called Love Two kings

Miranda Presley packs up her life in a suitcase and hops on the Greyhound bus from New York to Nashville, after her father dies. Armed with his guitar she plans to take a shot at being a successful songwriter. At an open mike night, she meets three other young hopefuls, Kyle, Linda Lue and James with whom she becomes close. The four of them experience, love, heartbreak, failure, success and new beginnings in the famous music city.

The Thing Called Love Miranda and Linda

The film was helmed by Peter Bogdanovich, who also directed The Last Picture Show (1971). Similarly, this is a story about young people, growing up and finding out what you truly want out of life. The film has a real warmth and truth to it. The actors have good chemistry which Bogdanovich makes use of in much longer, character-focused scenes.

Another reason to give this film a chance is the music. All four of the main cast use their own singing voices and play instruments throughout the film. Some even wrote the songs they sing. This is also River Phoenix’s only singing role, providing him with the opportunity to show off his skills as a musician was well as an actor.

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For those familiar with country music, there are several cameos of famous singers such as Pam Tillis. Kevin Welch and Trisha Yearwood. The film also showcases The Bluebird Café, a well-known music club in Nashville. The owner, Lucy, is played by singer, K.T. Oslin

The Thing Called Love Lucy

The main romance is between Miranda and James.  Both have quite strong personalities and often this makes for a volatile combination. It is a passionate love story with many highs and lows. There are also a lot of sweet and funny moments. Ultimately, the love story is not as important to the plot as Miranda’s personal growth but it is an enjoyable ride for the most part.

In short, an honest, enjoyable story with a talented cast. I urge you to give it a go.

Content Note: The Thing Called Love is rated PG-13. It has some implied sexuality and one use of strong language.

Where to Watch: The Thing Called Love is available to stream on Netflix UK and Rent on Amazon Video. A Director’s cut is also available on DVD.

Photo Credit: Paramount


“The stuff that dreams are made of.”


“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

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By on May 27th, 2017

About Elinor Cackett

Elinor is a writer and semi-recent graduate of English and Creative Writing at Aberystwyth University. She has been writing ever since she could hold a pen but her love affair with fiction started when the entirety of David Eddings’ 'The Belgariad' was read to her at age four. She currently has a couple of books and half a dozen short stories on the go. She spends her free time writing, analysing media and knitting very colourful scarves.

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2 thoughts on “Film Review: The Thing Called Love – A Lesser Known Gem”

  1. i cant tell you how many times I have seen this movie……I have owned the soundtrack and know the words to all the songs……love this movie.


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