In this feature documentary-musical by Chelsea McMullan, indie singer Rae Spoon takes us on a playful, meditative and at times melancholic journey. Set against majestic images of the infinite expanses of the Canadian Prairies, the film features Spoon crooning about their queer and musical coming of age. Interviews, performances and music sequences reveal Spoon’s inspiring process of building a life of their own, as a trans person and as a musician.
Il viaggio nelle praterie canadesi e nel passato della folksinger transgender Rae Spoon. Le dolci melodie chitarra e voce punteggiano il cammino solitario fra piccoli locali e introverse stanze d’albergo mentre il racconto dell’infanzia traumatizzata dagli abusi sessuali di un padre maniaco religioso penetra nei testi e nel ricordo di Rae, creatura che con tenerezza ricorda Brandon Teena, perennemente ai confini del suo Canada, del genere e del documentario musicale, diviso fra intimità on the road, canzoni live e giocosi videoclip pop. (Mix)
Reviewed By: Alex Hutt (canadianfilmreview.com)
As a pseudo tour film mixed in with a biopic, Chelsea McMullan’s My Prairie Home mainly succeeds in holding our attention. Whether you will find yourself going back for repeat viewings isn’t a sure thing.
Our subject is Canadian transgender musician Rae Spoon as they (Spoon use the pronoun “they”) traverse the prairies on tour. Along the road we are treated to snippets about their life growing up in an evangelical household. Structure and pacing mainly flows as story, song, road, story, song, road; this repetition might wear on some viewers.
The staging of the songs is eye catching though, as McMullan shoots visually interesting music videos. Here is Rae in a small town diner, or at the museum in Drumheller, throwing snowballs at their brother, or simply, on stage. The visual motif also continues into the rest of the film, as we notice from the opening shot of the upside-down prairie landscape. “It’s what it looks like when you are bored on the bus,” Rae explained during the Q+A.
Both Rae and McMullan were absolutely adorable, by the way. McMullan also noted that Spoon would not like when they were shooting them due to shyness, but we would not have noticed if McMullan had not told us. While Rae does seem to be uncomfortable at times, they don’t come across as cold.
Obviously you have to like Spoon’s music to fully enjoy this documentary musical. Rae has a beautiful, heatrtfelt voice that complements the highly personal pieces of music they produce. Having said that, there are only quick glimpses into Spoon’s psyche and their past in the doc. It might have felt forced if McMullan pushed for more, but there is definitely room to fill out the story.
Even so, fans of the indie rock scene won’t be disappointed and neither will music geeks. A capable entry into Canadian film that portrays an excellent artist. Also recommended is Rae’s music!