Songs My Brothers Taught Me

This complex portrait of modern-day life on the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation explores the bond between a brother and his younger sister, who find themselves on separate paths to rediscovering the meaning of home.


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  • ★★★½ review by megan on Letterboxd

    disclaimer: I really thought I was going to hate this style of filmmaking but damn was I wrong. this is such a beautiful story with just as beautiful cinematography and characters. 

    also, the song her brother taught her was macklemore’s “thrift shop”???

  • ★★★★★ review by Aleski on Letterboxd

    This is one of the most beautiful / sad movie I've seen this year. I love the way Chloé Zhao worked with the scenario and the actors, I love how she shot it, the light is incredible, the music is amazing.

    + I'm so happy this movie has been distributed in France because we never talk / see / hear about native americans' living conditions.

    (bonus : directed, written and produced by women ! yay !)

  • ★★★★ review by Peter Valerio on Letterboxd

    Beautiful cinematography captures many small moments that accumulate and create a portrait of the lives of young people on a reservation.

  • ★★★½ review by abid_ism on Letterboxd

    oh man this a beautiful, beautiful movie. i love the way the director Chloe Zhao used the storms, the lightning, the massive skies, and the what seemed like never ending terrain throughout sort of highlighting this small community in a massive landscape. i love how fire was a constant motif throughout being both a signifier for pain and suffering and also a big part of celebration and ceremony. this reminds me a lot this documentary Bombay Beach in how it captures the big dreams and small mundane day-to-day living of not only the the main individuals it follows but the community in general. i like that country music is often playing on the radio throughout the movie because the movie sort of films like a quiet country song playing in the background. people go on about life like the strumming of a guitar all while trying to communicate their desire for something that they lost or in search of. it's sad but it's hopeful. people get hurt but people also mean well. i wouldn't mind if this movie played in the background of a bar i was trying to drink the day away.

  • ★★★½ review by Boonmee on Letterboxd

    One of 2016's more overlooked films. Songs My Brothers Taught Me offers a peek at the melancholy lives of Native Americans living on a reservation in what appears to be the midwest. It's a quiet film and very Malick-esque at times in its lyrical, non-linear editing style. The acting isn't great and it often meanders into dullness occasionally, but as an overall experience, I found it quite poetic and moving. Some slightly more purposeful, focused direction would undoubtedly elevate this, but it's still a meaningful, well-composed piece of work.

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