‘The Von Trapp Family’ Will Resonate With ‘The Sound Of Music’s’ Fans

Courtesy:  Lionsgate

Courtesy: Lionsgate

The Sound Of Music is one of the greatest musicals in the genre’s modern history.  It is a tale that most would consider to be timeless.  That is because it tells a story of determination against great odds.  As beloved as it is, it is hardly perfect.  That is not so much because it is a musical but because it is yet another story that is based on actual events.  That means that alongside its factual material there is plenty of over embellishment, too.  Now thanks to Lionsgate a much more realistic story of the Von Trapp family has been released, making up for the decades of flourishes that fill out The Sound of Music.  It came earlier this spring in the form of The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music.  This movie is a must see for any fan of The Sound of Music and of the Von Trapp family and its history.  This is due in part to the movie’s writing.  This applies largely to the movie’s central and secondary story.  The story’s approach is another important part of its presentation.  Unlike The Sound of Music there are no musical numbers to extend the movie’s nearly two-hour run time.  Last but hardly least of note in this movie’s presentation is the work of the movie’s cast.  While the most well-known of the movie’s cast is Rosemary Harris, the cast in whole impresses in its work in front of the lens.  Of course one would be remiss to ignore the movie’s costume and makeup department or those that scouted out the movie’s filming locations.  They deserve their own share of credit, too.  All things considered The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music proves in the end to be a movie that despite being independent (and based on actual events) is a surprisingly entertaining and interesting story.

Lionsgate’s new take on the famed Von Trapp family The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music is a surprisingly entertaining and interesting story.  This is even despite the movie being an independent presentation and another story that is based on actual events.  That is due in large part to the movie’s writing.  The writing team of Christoph Silber, Tim Sullivan, and creative consultant Paul Gunczler crafted a story that is far more factual than fictional unlike The Sound of Music.  That is not to say that The Sound of Music doesn’t have some factual information within its story.  But its embellishments (musical numbers included) obviously outweigh its factual material.  In the case of this new Von Trapp family “biopic” audiences actually get a real look into the Von Trapp family’s real story.  That story includes Maria actually marrying Captain Von Trapp and the apparent fallout from that marriage.  According to Agathe’s story, she and Maria didn’t exactly see eye to eye even when Maria was just the Von Trapp children’s nanny.  In this story Agathe was the only of the Von Trapp children who had any problem with Maria, too.  Also of note in this story is that Agathe’s love interest is not turned into a Nazi.  Rather in this case he is in fact part of the resistance as the Nazi’s close in on Austria.  And his fate is anything but good as he stands against the Nazi henchmen who start wreaking havoc on the region.  There was also no mention of nuns, Maria having any link to a convent or even anyone tricking the Nazis as the Von Trapp family left their home.  On that note, they didn’t necessarily escape in this story.  Rather they were forced out due to pressure from the growing Nazi presence and barely escaped in the middle of the night.  These are just a few of the items that differ here from the story presented in The Sound of Music.  There is much more that audiences will catch when they watch The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music for themselves.  There are some items that stay the same between the two movie, hinting at some truth between the pair.  But there seems to be more fact to this story than fiction.

The story at the heart of The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music is a clear example of what makes the movie’s writing so integral to its presentation.  It is just one part of the script that makes the writing so important.  The movie’s secondary story plays its own part in proving the importance of the movie’s writing in its presentation.  The secondary story involves the now elderly Agathe tracking down her grand-daughter Kirsty (Lauryn Canny – Amber, 1,000 Times Good Night, Poison Pen) as Kirsty is on the verge of leaving her own family after a blowout argument with her father.  Agathe (Rosemary Harris – Spiderman, Spiderman 2, Spiderman 3) tracks her down and relates her own story to that of Kirsty, eventually convincing her to come back home and make amends with her father.  That story—a young person wanting to run away after a big fight with a parent, only to be persuaded to return home in the end—is anything but original.  And the fact that the movie’s writing team set it against a Christmas backdrop makes it all the more schmaltzy.  Truth be told they didn’t allow the Christmas backdrop overpower the movie’s bigger story, that of the Von Trapp as the Nazis closed in on Austria.  Keeping that in mind, while the movie’s secondary story is set against a holiday backdrop it is still a movie that audiences could watch any time.  Of course that backdrop doesn’t hurt its odds during the holiday season.  All things considered here the writing behind The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music proves in whole to be a hugely important part of the movie’s overall presentation.  It is not the movie’s only important element.  The movie’s general presentation is another important part of its presentation.

The writing behind The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music is a hugely important part of the movie’s overall presentation.  That is thanks to the efforts of the movie’s writing team.  The movie’s writing team focused more on fact than fiction in crafting the movie’s script, and balancing the central story of the Von Trapp Family’s story with the script’s secondary story.  While the movie’s writing proves to be of the utmost importance to the movie’s presentation it is not the only important element to note in the movie’s presentation.  The approach taken by the writing team in crafting the movie’s script is just as important to note in the movie’s presentation.  Unlike The Sound of Music, The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music is not weighed down by musical numbers every few minutes.  As previously noted, the movie’s writers instead used a secondary story involving a new generation of Von Trapp’s to help tell the central story of the original Von Trapp family.  The transitions between the primary and secondary stories (I.E. past and present) are clear and concise from beginning to end.  On another level it is nice to see that the writers opted not to go the route taken by so many major blockbuster biopics with their approach to this story.  In other words it doesn’t have the sense of pretentiousness that those overblown cinematic offerings have about them.  Rather it presents the story with more of a personal feel.  That does a lot to help keep audiences engaged right up to the story’s final minutes.  All of these elements go into the approach taken by the movie’s writing team to show in whole why their approach in writing the movie’s script is just as important to the movie’s presentation as its very script.  Even as important as the writers’ approach proves to be in the bigger picture of this movie’s presentation, it still is not the last of the movie’s most notable elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as any of the work put in by the movie’s writers.

The writing behind The Von Trapp Family: A Life of Music and the overall approach taken by the movie’s writing team in crafting the movie’s script are equally important to its presentation.  That is because both elements serve to set this “biopic” almost completely apart from The Sound of Music.  As important as both elements prove to be to the movie’s presentation they are not its only important elements.  The work of the movie’s cast is just as important as that put in by the movie’s writing team.  Rosemary Harris and Eliza Bennett (Inkheart, Nanny McPhee, Broadchurch), being the movie’s main stars, are to be especially commended for their portrayals of the older and younger Agathe Von Trapp respectively.  Bennett’s Agathe is a character that any female viewer will appreciate.  That is because of the balance of headstrong nature and vulnerability exhibited by Bennett in her portrayal of the younger Agathe.  By contrast, Harris’ take on Agathe is a much wiser and gentler figure.  That wisdom and gentility makes her Agathe a perfect contradiction to Bennett’s much younger, headstrong character.  The confidence is still there in Harris’ Agathe.  But it has been tempered because of her character’s years of life experience.  That balance of confidence and nurturing gentility makes Harris’ portrayal just as impressive as that of Bennett.  On another note, Matthew McFadyen (The Three Musketeers, Anna Karenina, Ripper Street) is impressive in his own right as Agathe’s father, Captain Georg Von Trapp.  This is especially exemplified in those moments in which he faces off against Maria and Agathe about leaving their home.  He does an applause-worthy job of presenting Georg’s mindset.  As Maria notes to Agathe at one point in the story, Georg was a proud man whose roots were in Austria’s older era.  The pain that he exhibits as Georg eventually and reluctantly agrees to the Von Trapp’s fate is so gripping.  It makes audiences feel for Georg perhaps more so here than in any other moment.  It is just one more example of why the work of this movie’s cast is as important as the work put in by the movie’s writers.  There are plenty of other moments that could just as easily be cited in exhibiting what makes the cast’s work so important to the movie’s presentation.  When those moments are set alongside the moments noted here and the work of the movie’s cast, the whole of those elements shows clearly why The Von Trapps: A Life of Music is a movie that any fan of The Sound of Music should see.  It also shows why this independent biopic is one of 2016’s top new independent movies.

The Von Trapps: A Life of Music is one of 2016’s top new independent movies.  It is a movie that any fan of The Sound of Music should see at least once if not more.  That is proven in part through the story crafted by the writing team of Christoph Silber, Tim Sullivan, and creative consultant Paul Gunczler.  The approach taken by the trio in crafting the story is as important to its presentation as the story itself.  The work of the movie’s cast rounds out the most important of the movie’s elements.  Each element proves important in its own way to the overall presentation of The Von Trapps: A Life of Music.  Collectively they make this movie one of the year’s top new independent movies.  It is available now in stores and online.  It can be ordered direct online via Lionsgate’s online store at http://www.lionsgateshop.com/product.asp?Id=34022&TitleParentId=10386.  More information on this and other titles from Lionsgate is available online now at:

 

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