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The Guitar

76 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Product Description

A story of one woman's spiritual, emotional and creative transformation. One morning, "mouse-Burger" Melody, "Mel" Wilder is diagnosed with a terminal illness, fired from her thankless job and abandoned by her boyfriend. With nothing left to lose, given 2 months to live, she spends her entire life's savings renting an empty palatial loft in the Village. Thinking she'll never have to pay the piper, she lives off her credit cards, fills the loft with the fanciest products, sensually engages both the parcel delivery man and a pizza delivery girl and teaches herself to play the electric guitar she's craved since childhood. These life affirming experiences transform her irrevocably.

Amazon.com

Actress Amy Redford's directorial debut, The Guitar, pivots on a potentially risible concept made palatable by a charismatic cast: an attractive woman discovers she's dying, maxes out her credit cards, and indulges her every materialistic and sexual whim (and yes, Amy is Robert Redford's daughter). But what sounds like an art-house version of The Bucket List offers its own unique charms--at least for those who don't take it too literally. Moments after Melody Wilder (Saffron Burrows) finds out she has inoperable throat cancer, she loses her job and her boyfriend, leaving her alone and broke in New York City (Janeane Garofolo gives her the bad medical news). So, she abandons her basement apartment and moves into a cavernous loft, where she orders fancy outfits and furnishings, throws the refuse out the windows, and dines on take-out while dreaming of the red Stratocaster she coveted as a girl. Soon Mel’s life revolves around her new stuff and the kindly individuals who deliver it to her: the married Roscoe (Isaach de Bankolé) and engaged Cookie (Paz de la Huerta). All the while, the willowy Burrows, much like Ali McGraw in Love Story, makes listless and pale seem more glamorous than sad, but just as tragedy gives way to fantasy, Mel returns to reality once her credit runs out. As a how-to guide for the terminally ill, The Guitar won't win many points, but as a metaphor for spiritual emptiness, it gets the job done. --Kathleen C. Fennessy

Special Features

None.

Product Details

  • Actors: Saffron Burrows, Isaach De Bankolé, Paz de la Huerta, Mia Kucan, Adam Trese
  • Directors: Amy Redford
  • Writers: Amos Poe
  • Producers: Amy Redford, Amos Poe, Andy Emilio, Bob Jason, Brad Zions
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Widescreen
  • Language: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Starz / Anchor Bay
  • DVD Release Date: February 10, 2009
  • Run Time: 93 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (76 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B001L28J2M
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #34,800 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "The Guitar" on IMDb

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
"THE GUITAR" marks the directorial debut of actress Amy Redford and focuses on the character of Melody "Mel" Wilder (Saffron Burrows), a woman who has one of the worst days anyone can live.

Mel has been laid off from her office job due to downsizing, then when she goes to meet her boyfriend and tell him the bad news, he tells her that he needs his space because she's suffocating him and leaves her. And what better way to end a crappy day by being told by your doctor that you are going to die from cancer and you have two months to live.

For Mel, having been diagnosed with inoperable cancer in her throat and losing everything in her life, she contemplates ending her life but manages to see an ad about a loft being rented out for a very short time.

Mel, decides that if she's going to die, she's going to enjoy her last weeks by doing the things that she dreams of.

She rents the pretty spacious and beautiful loft, ditches all her clothing (thus living in the loft naked) and with her three credit cards, starts going on a spending rampage. Ordering a Vera Wang mattress, ordering a genuine leather couch, and so many designer vases, lamps and clothing. She also decides to change her eating habits by straying away from her vegan life and eating whatever she wants, including expensive meals and putting it all on her credit card.

But each time she sleeps, in her dreams we see how Mel, as a young girl has always desired a red electric guitar. As a child that is passionate about music, her parents never could buy her an electric guitar but she feels that why not do it now. So, she buys top notch amps, speakers and a classic electric guitar and learns to play it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By T. Johnson on August 13, 2009
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I enjoyed this movie. I felt the whole premise is about what would happen if you were completely freed from the normal boundaries of the day to day world and you could do anything you wanted - no longer locked into your current real world situation, no longer concerned with duties and the expectations of anyone around you, no longer contorted to fit into the box you've made for yourself in life. The path of the character made perfect sense to me. Saffron Burroughs did a fine job of acting, and her beauty is almost a kind of poetic element of the film. In many ways the movie was all about healing and restoration, both of the body and the spirit, through the freedom to breathe.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By keithkimzey66 on September 9, 2011
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
I happen to be one of those who enjoy independent films, and this film fits the mold. A lot of people apparently did not like this movie. I think it is because they entirely miss the story's moral: Pursue the one thing in your life that brings you peace and happiness. I, for one, highly recommend this film.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Woopak VINE VOICE on February 28, 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
A 2008 Sundance Film Festival selection, "The Guitar" is a film that takes us into the unpredictable world of a woman with a terminal illness. Directed by Amy Redford and with a script by Amos Pie, it is a story that dives into the mind of a lonely, grieving cancer patient and her final days--it is a story of frustrations, freedom, disconnection, and awakening.

Melody Wilder (Saffron Burrows) is a woman who had just discovered that she only has two months to live--she has been diagnosed with throat cancer. To make things worse, she had just been laid off from her job and before she can confide with her boyfriend about her affliction, he breaks up with her. So what does Melody do? She cleans out her existing bank accounts, and rents a short term loft. Without any fears and inhibitions, Melody makes a carefree life for her last days--maxing out her credit cards, walks around stark naked in her loft, abandons her healthy diet, indulges in exploratory sexual experiences, until finally she learns to play a guitar.

Delving into the mind of a cancer victim is a very interesting premise, think "Last Holiday" and "the Bucket List" but on a much smaller timeline. However, the film does have quite a number of weaknesses. The script feels to display a some of overload of the bleak things that can happen to one person. I mean, it is possible for all these things to happen, but I think it leaned too much on the cruelty of the world, and it feels a little heavy-handed. The direction by Amy Redford does get its message across; it is a forceful approach enough, but it just feels too much of an exhibition that just grabs the viewer, that some may have a slight suspension of disbelief and a leap beyond logic.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Michael Meredith VINE VOICE on April 15, 2009
Format: DVD Vine Customer Review of Free Product ( What's this? )
If you haven't already noticed, the reviews for The Guitar are all over the map. Clearly this isn't a movie for everyone, and I confess that at about 40 minutes into the film I was wondering if it was even for me. But two days after watching it, I'm still haunted by Saffron Burrows' performance and the incredibly subtle way the story unfolds.

Melody Wilder (Burrows) experiences what has to be trifecta of life altering events, all within one morning. First her doctor (played by Janeane Garofalo) informs her that her "feeling crappy" is due to laryngeal cancer, and that she has at best two months to live. Next, she dazedly reports to her job in a Dilbertarian cubicle silo only to discover that she's being laid off. Turning to her boyfriend for support, he informs her that they need to break up as he feels "smothered." You can be excused for thinking at this point that you're in for yet another free spending "max out the credit cards spending spree" kind of story. Okay... well that's "kind" of what happens, but somehow things progress differently from most "I may as well enjoy my final days" thrill rides.

Mel leaves her basement apartment (and everything in it) for a huge loft bereft of anything other than a basic kitchen and chucks what little she has out the window. At this point, a conventional cineplex movie would feature a scene of gratuitous nudity with an overbearing musical score as Mel moves/dances her way through the cavernous empty space. But to the disappointment of adolescent males everywhere, it's nothing like that. Naked Mel basically retreats into a fetal position (all the more odd given the overall size of the loft) and just waits.
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