Our Robert Altman Month wraps up with Nashville, a deep dive into the “Country Music Capital of the World” that’s often hailed as his magnum opus.
Loosely based on screenwriter Joan Tewkesbury’s observations while on a trip to Tennessee’s state capital, the film showcases numerous storylines clamoring into and around each other. Englishwoman Opal (Geraldine Chaplin) conducts interviews, claiming to be working on a documentary for the BBC. Linnea Reese (Lily Tomlin), a white gospel singer and mother of two deaf children, finds herself in a romantic entanglement with chronic womanizer Tom Frank (Keith Carradine), a member of a thorny folk-rock trio. Country singer Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley) hovers on the edge of a nervous breakdown and is unknowingly the target of two very ardent “admirers”. These seemingly disparate journeys diverge and intertwine, surging to an explosive head at third-party presidential candidate Hal Philip Walker’s fundraiser gala concert.
Often hailed as one of the greatest films of all time, Nashville is a panoramic view of American culture seen via the intersection of art and politics.
“…a slyly penetrating study of American disillusion that takes the sprawling shape of a rapturous cinematic revue, crowded with human beings of various backgrounds, beliefs, and eccentricities.” — Matthew Eng, Tribeca Film
“Given our own recent experiences of political and social upheaval, [Nashville’s] themes are no less vital now: the irresistibility and fallibility of the American dream; America as a cautionary tale of capitalism-gone-haywire; the latent violence embedded in its very constitution that seems destined to surface.” — Miranda Collinge, Esquire
“…Altman makes the detail-specific, the incidental, and the intimate seem profound. Nashville transcends its environment even as it captures it so closely…” — Christina Newland, BBC