The film has 24 main characters who interact with one another in Nashville during the lead up an independent political candidate's rally and various people related to the music industry undergoing personal and professional trials.
The part of the film that I loved most was the character of Opal, Geraldine Chaplin, a nutty woman impersonating a BBC reporter who gloms on to whatever politics are convenient and is obsessed with fame. Her hidden prejudices and ironic shallowness can be seen when she enters the trailer of African-American musical artist Tommy Brown, Timothy Brown, who she assumes is white. She condescends his friends, also African-American, by referring to them as "You lovely people" and says that Brown must be very progressive to hang out with them. Another standout scene occurs when she is seen walking around an abandoned yard of dilapidated school buses and continuously adjusts her angle on the metaphor she is ascribing them to as it becomes clear she is mental and has none of her own political convictions. Chaplin gave one of the funniest performances I have ever seen and the fact that she didn't win and wasn't even nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress was shocking to me.
The storyline that I appreciated second most was that of Linnea Reese, Lily Tomlin, and Tom Frank, Keith Carradine, a middle aged housewife and a young country singer who have a brief affair. Tomlin appears as a compassionate and sweet woman who while she cares for her children struggles with her philandering husband. Her pairing with Tom, who sleeps with nearly every woman in the film including his bandmate Mary, Cristina Raines, seems unlikely but we believe it during the famous performance of "I'm Easy." The camera closes up on Linnea's face as we see flashes of fear and sexual excitement cross her face as she receives attention from a male for the first time in a long time. Their post coital conversation is also sweet as she teaches him sign language but when she gets up to leave we see him angrily retaliate by calling another woman. The fact that he ends the conversation immediately after she leaves hints at the fact that he felt more of a connection to her than he does with his usual groupies but the abilities of Carradine and Tomlin to sell their connection in just a few scenes is impressive.
The film looks beautiful as it is very much a documentation of the fashion of 1975. Shelley Duvall's L.A. Joan in particular wears the sort of clothing you associate with a â~sexy' seventies woman and her afro and famously thin frame only add to the look. A lot of the young men sport long, shaggy hair and beards while the older men wear maroon colored suits and bell bottoms. The sight of an iconic city like Nashville at a time of such upheaval has a certain novelty to it and Altman captures many of the city's most famous landmarks.
This isn't a perfect film but I would like to talk about only the positive aspects of the film because it is worth sitting through the musical performances for the really interesting, detailed, funny parts of the film which are something that can only really be found in a Robert Altman movie.
Again Robert Altman doesn't disappoint. And with an awesome soundtrack and setting in Nashville, the film really does come alive and you feel like your a part of it all.
Deserves a re-watch.
Robert Altman has always had a taste for making offbeat character pieces, combining the comedic and the dramatic. Here, he sets a gold-plated standard, with a satirical look at the country and western music scene in it's titular capital. This sprawling epic is set over a few days in Nashville, Tennessee. It follows groups of characters performing throughout the city in the run-up to America's Bicentennial birthday, which will climax with a political campaign by the mysterious Hal Phillip Walker. Such stories include reigning queen of Nashville Barbara Jean (Ronee Blakley), curious BBC journalist Opal (Geraldine Chaplin), superstar singer at the Grand Ole Opry Haven Hamilton (Henry Gibson), married couple Del Reese (Ned Beatty) and Linnea Reese (Lily Tomlin), the latter is having a clandestine relationship with folk-rock singer Tom Frank (Keith Carradine). It's a brilliantly realised film, combining Altman's trademarks of overlapping dialogue, improvisation from the actors, (they wrote all their own songs!!) and documentary style shooting. (Altman shot so much footage, that it nearly became two films) It's a brilliant cast, and it is a very powerful, with some dark humour throughout, and it's a better film than Short Cuts, and once you see this film, you will become a fan of country and western, bluegrass and the Grand Ole Opry. Plus, you'll want to go and visit Nashville too!! One of Altman's very best films, and look out for cameo's from Elliot Gould and Julie Christie as themselves... 5/5
Greta final scene with a song with a simple but unforgetable phrase "it don't worry me".