The Guitar (2008) • USA

In the first five minutes of this film three big things happen. 1) Saffron Burrows is diagnosed with terminal cancer, given a month, two at most. 2) She's downsized out of her job and then, presumably to illustrate the impact of #2, she makes a collect phone call. Turns out the call is to her boyfriend. How weird is that? He meets with her and spews forth the most inane psychobabble nonsense about needing to find his inner child you've ever heard and says 3) he is breaking up with her. I should have given up right then and there but ... girls with guitars, ya know.

Saffron proceeds to rent a penthouse loft and furnishes it extravagantly using an endless supply of credit cards. She never goes out so she walks around naked and has sex with the UPS guy and pizza delivery girl. Saffron's acting is decent. She's capable of exposing layers of emotion. She buys a guitar. It has something to do with the flashbacks we see of her childhood, of course. At this point things become subjective. I'm a guitar snob and am not impressed seeing people fake a relationship with a guitar. Movies have for years been able to convincingly fake people playing the piano (right?) but I've never seen a good fake guitar playing performance. Granted, she is supposed to be a beginner so I shouldn't have expected much but I did anyway. I could let her slide on the fingering and strumming, given her beginner status and all, but I really needed to see an exciting relationship of her body to the guitar. I'm not expecting her to have sex with it, just show me that her body and her soul (that is the point, isn't it?) understand it, know how to move it and move with it and let it move her. Nada.

Final verdict: thumbs down. Even if you don't share my guitar snobbery I don't think the film has much to offer beyond a decent performance from Burrows. It's pretty standard (trite and fantastic) "what would you do if you were told you had only a couple months to live" stuff. If playing the guitar is something that you'd do, given that you've got only a couple months to live, the learning curve ought to be really quick. I mean, if you are going to make a movie out of it.


1 comment:

  1. I have just started learning to play guitar online at and need all the help I can get.