Despite the wholly desolate introduction, the movie manages to steer clear of becoming entirely downcast, in part, thanks to a hearty performance by Saffron Burrows as the listless and directionless Melody.
Girl gets terminal cancer. Girl gets fired from mundane desk job. Girl gets dumped by city worker boyfriend. Just in case we hadn't quite figured out how hellish a day our central character, Melody Wilder, is meant to be having, Amy Redford (in her directorial debut) and the writer Amos Poe manage to squeeze these traumatic and life-altering events into the first eight minutes of The Guitar, which first screened at the 2008 Sundance Film Festival. But despite the wholly desolate introduction, the movie manages to steer clear of becoming entirely downcast, in part, thanks to a hearty performance by Saffron Burrows as the listless and directionless Melody. What follows is a voyage of self-discovery (what else?) as Melody deals with her impending death. Denouncing her vegetarianism via some takeaway spare ribs, moving into a palatial loft in a prestigious part of New York, indulging in brief affairs and going on a spending spree via her numerous collection of credit cards, Melody only really comes alive when she purchases a neon-red electric guitar - something she has craved since childhood. Although Burrows undoubtedly plays the role well, Poe's screenplay does little in the way of allowing the audience to connect with Melody, thus making it difficult to either care much for her story or understand why the two supporting characters are so drawn to her. Add to that the entirely far-fetched and somewhat saccharine ending, and The Guitar's muddled state of affairs makes for distinctly average and forgettable viewing.