Janet McTeer follows up her Oscar-nominated performance in Tumbleweeds (1999) with this period drama set during the 1910s. Dr. Lily Penleric (McTeer), an uptight musicologist, is furious after getting denied tenure again at an elite all-male East Coast university. She promptly quits out of protest, and having nowhere else to go, she joins her sister in a remote mountain school. Her high-minded, refined ways quickly clash with the locals, yet her academic interests are peaked when she realizes that this bucolic mountain culture is thoroughly infused with music that harkens back to traditional English and Scottish folk ballads. After retrieving some tools, including a primitive recording device, from the East Coast, she sets out collecting songs. The locals react with a mixture of amusement, bafflement, and suspicion. Meanwhile, a mining company is strong-arming the impoverished residences into selling their coal-rich land for a pittance. Lily soon realizes that the culture she's seeking to preserve is quickly being torn asunder. Aidan Quinn and David Patrick Kelly also appear in this film, which was screened at the 2000 Sundance Film Festival.
by Jonathan Crow synopsis