Leland inherits a guitar from his “uncleMore likely his dad.”. Ray—once a touring musician, now a successful oilmanHe’s the type who would bristle at the suggestion he’s an “oilperson”.—gets a call from a former bandmate, letting him know their deceased friend left his guitar to some kid in his area (“and you might want to check in on it before it turns into firewood”).
Kind of like Viking last week, this one’s a Canadian comedy that becomes less funny in the second half. Where Viking went a little dark, though, Guitar Lessons delves deep into the characters’ flaws, and shows us how they try to fix themselves. There’s a deep lake of drama under the surface laughs. This film has things to say about fatherhood—biological and adoptive—addiction, growing up (for both teens and 50-year-olds), privilege and wealth, relationships, and life in oil country. It’s also beautifully filmed: meditative in its framing. There’s a long sequence of Ray cleaning, repairing, and polishing his old friend’s guitar, wordless. The shots of the countryside and the towns throughout are lovely, too.
I quite enjoyed it.