Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Bruce Springsteen Could Have an Oscar Nomination for Song from Rebecca Miller’s Fanciful “She Came to Me”


Rebecca Miller’s “She Came to Me” is an oddly endearing, quirky indie movie coming next week to a theater near you. It’s a fable with no special effects with an impressive cast including Peter Dinklage, Marisa Tomei, Anne Hathaway, Brian D’Arcy James, and Joanna Kulig (from the movie “Cold War”). You couldn’t do better.

So how to top the cast? End the movie with an original Bruce Springsteen song called “Addicted to Romance,” never heard before and I would guess written for the film. Patti Scialfa sings background on what turns out to be a Springsteen gem that feels just like “She Came to Me” — old school, melodic, memorable. The people behind the movie should convince Bruce to put it out as a single pronto cut to their clips. They would have a hit.

Miller knows how to come up with left field plots that that turn on unexpected moments. Her films like “Maggie’s Plan” and “Personal Velocity” have cemented her place in this quirky world. “She Came to Me” is a dramedy about dysfunctional people in Brooklyn. Dinklage is an opera composer with a current creative blockage married to Hathaway, a composed, fashionable (wealthy) shrink on the verge of a nervous breakdown. She’s looking for more and may find it in religion. They have a teenage son, a Romeo who falls in love with D’Arcy James and Kulig’s daughter, their Juliet.

It sounds like a nice, tidy set up but the curve ball is Marisa Tomei as — believe it or not — a self confessed sex and romance obsessed tugboat captain looking for a one night stand. When she docks in Brooklyn, she meets Dinklage and changes his life. He writes an opera about their mysterious encounter, decides she’s his muse while at home, Dinklage’s family is coming apart at the seams.

“She Came to Me” doesn’t sound like it would work and no studio would ever greenlight it. But the material is enchanting. Miller is full of surprises and nuances. Her cast is terrific, everyone of them a scene stealer although Hathaway is kind of remarkable. And that’s coming from a big Marisa Tomei fan. Also, if the tugboat part doesn’t get you, Miller throws D’Arcy James and Kulig into an inventive unpredictable little plot twist to get to her ending.

If all this isn’t enough, Miller stages two scenes from original mini operas that could easily be expanded and play in real life at BAM.

“She Came to Me” is an old fashioned New York style film, much in the vein of Woody Allen, Nora Ephron, and kind of a balm after all the noise of planned Hollywood hits. Plus it has a delicately memorable score from Bryce Dessner of the group, The National. Originally Steve Carell was supposed to play the opera composer along with a different cast that never came together. It’s Dinklage’s credit that he assumes the role with no mention of his height difference. He is just outstanding in everything he does, and totally believable as the cynical center of this cacophony.

Will Springsteen cap his year by performing at the Oscars? He should. The song is called “Addicted to Romance.” His fans will be addicted to it.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedmanhttps://www.showbiz411.com
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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