A handful of up-and-coming songwriters discover that love is as difficult to navigate as the music business in this romantic comedy-drama from director Peter Bogdanovich. Miranda Presley (Samantha Mathis) is an aspiring singer/songwriter from New York City who loves country music and has decided to take her chances in Nashville, TN, where she hopes to strike it big as a musician. After arriving in the Music City after a long bus ride, Miranda makes her way to the Bluebird Café, a local watering hole with a reputation as a showcase for new talent. The bar's owner, Lucy (K.T. Oslin), takes a shine to the shy but plucky newcomer, and gives her a job as a waitress. Before long, Miranda has gotten to know a number of other Nashville transplants who are look looking to land a gig or sell a song, among them sweet and open-hearted Kyle Davidson (Dermot Mulroney), moody but talented James Wright (River Phoenix), and spunky Linda Lue Linden (Sandra Bullock). As the four friends struggle to find their place in the competitive Nashville music scene, both Kyle and James display a romantic interest in Miranda, while she finds it difficult to choose between the two. The Thing Called Love features cameos from a number of noted country performers, including Trisha Yearwood, Pam Tillis, Katy Moffatt, Jo-El Sonnier, and Jimmie Dale Gilmore. Sadly, The Thing Called Love would be best remembered as the last film actor River Phoenix completed before his death in the fall of 1993.
by Mark Deming synopsis