A huge canvas of a movie that features 24 characters, an hour of terrific country-and-western music, and multiple storylines. In the course of several days and nights, the characters weave in and out while politician Hal Philip Walker (never seen) cruises in his red, white, and blue van spouting over a loudspeaker his conservative views about too much government in America. The main characters are Haven Hamilton, a full-of-himself country superstar, Barbara Jean, a fragile country singer making a comeback from a serious injury, Tom Frank, a ruthless womanizer, Linnea Reese, a gospel singer raising two deaf children, Winifred, an aspiring singer-songwriter hoping to find success in Nashville, and Opal, a wide-eyed BBC reporter looking for a big scoop. Critic Roger Ebert poignantly concluded his review with the following: “This is a film about America. It deals with our myths, our hungers, our ambitions, and our sense of self. It knows how we talk and how we behave, and it doesn’t flatter us but it does love us.”
Why Stream This Film?
- Rotten Tomatoes Score (Critics Consensus) 93% 93%
- Metacritic Score 96% 96%
Academy Awards: Best Original Song, “I’m Easy” by Keith Carradine; Nominated: Best Picture, Best Director (Robert Altman), Best Supporting Actress (Ronee Blakley), Best Supporting Actress (Lily Tomlin)
Golden Globes: Best Original Song: “I’m Easy.”
American Film Institute (AFI) Best 100 Movies: Nashville is #59
Nashville was selected for preservation in the United States Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
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It’s a film about losers and winners, the drifters and the stars in Nashville, and the most complete expression yet of not only a genius but also the humanity of Altman, who sees people with a camera in such a way as to enlarge our own experience. Sure, it’s only a movie. But after I saw it I felt more alive, I felt I understood more about people, I felt somehow wiser. It’s that good a movie. It does not have a star. It does not not, indeed, even have a lead role. Altman does it all so easily, or seems to, that watching NASHVILLE is as easy as breathing and as hard to stop. Altman is the best natural filmmaker since Fellini.
Compared with the carbonated, artificially-flavoured, genetically-modified pap that mainstream cinema dishes up, Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE now tastes like a crisp organic apple. Spacious, shrewdly detailed and conceived with compassion and wit, it unfurls at an unhurried walking pace, spreading itself across a very American urban landscape.
It is a temptation, with Robert Altman’s NASHVILLE, to run out the bunting, summon the trumpets and let the adjectives rip. For, above all, the film is a stupendous entertainment.
Never before has an American movie had quite this texture, this density both of visuals and of soundtrack. It is like a great tapestry, each strand clear and clean, but not until they have been skillfully interwoven do the shapes emerge.
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