Ruby (Maisie Owens) and Angie (Jackie Marshall) song crafting in a scene from the independent feature film Three Chords and the Truth directed by Claire Pasvolsky.

FILM REVIEW | Three Chords and The Truth

Three Chords and the Truth uses the power of the big screen to simultaneously reveal and retain the magic, hard work, resilience and despair of a life lived for music. At its heart though, this is a film that about human connection. In the way a circus conjures magic through the greasepaint and sawdust, so this film slowly bewitches with the quiet power of the craft of songwriting.

Bearing witness to the baton passing of a craft — the creation of a song from the ether with only three chords, I was moved deeply. Inspired by her life, Jackie Marshall is compelling in the role of Angie Cowper. The scenes between Angie (Jackie Marshall) and teenage runaway Ruby (Maisie Owens) are propelled by a compulsion to realise the final chapter of her life as a working musician. The watching and listening to Angie’s craft (and worldly ways) become wayfinders for the processing of grief and trauma for young Ruby.

An ‘end of the line’ sense of place, in nameless regional Australian suburban streets and pubs is relatable. The soundtrack of songs emerging in the studio with an acoustic guitar and fading female vocals is achingly beautiful, though bleak at times.

Director (Claire Pasvolsky) could have easily told a story of despair but through exquisite casting, performances and locations Three Chords and the Truth is anchored in strength, resilience and most disarmingly the simple power of music to turn the tide to hope and healing.

This independent feature film (deserving of wider distribution pronto!) is so much more than a simple three chord song — it is the truth of real-life connection where the charm and power of this story is realised perfectly.

Three Chords and the Truth premiered at the Brisbane International Film Festival in November 2022. Watch the trailer here :

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music, books, conversation, alchemy, feminism, justice ; in transition to a creative life > writer ; I live on unceded Turrbul country.

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Leanne de Souza

music, books, conversation, alchemy, feminism, justice ; in transition to a creative life > writer ; I live on unceded Turrbul country.