"Songs My Brothers Taught Me" (2015) | Sam Gall Movie Review Issue #133 Gem Mint 10.0


“Songs My Brothers Taught Me“ (2015)

Director: Chloe Zhao

Writer: Chloe Zhao

Starring: John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Elonore Hendricks, Cat Clifford, Travis Lone Hill, Dakota Brown, Jorge Dullknife, Kevin Hunter, Allen Reddy

Rated: Not Rated

Runtime: 1h 38min

Genre: Drama

Country: United States

Language: English

Available on: Various VOD platforms


"With an older brother in jail and living with their single mother on Pine Ridge Reservation, Johnny and his sister Jashuan's lives develop new challenges when their absentee cowboy father suddenly dies. The loss prompts Johnny to strike out for Los Angeles, but would mean leaving behind his beloved sister."


You might like this if you like: Chloe Zhao, Native American Stories, Family Stories, Documentaries, Human Stories, Cinematography, John Reddy, Jashaun St. John, Irene Bedard, Taysha Fuller, Elonore Hendricks, Cat Clifford, Travis Lone Hill, Dakota Brown, Jorge Dullknife, Kevin Hunter, Allen Reddy


John Reddy (left) & Jashaun St. John (right) in "Songs My Brothers Taught Me" (2015)


I’d been very excited for Chloe Zhao’s “The Eternals” (2021) coming out in November and “Songs My Brothers Taught Me” (2015) has become one of my favorite films!

I love it’s very real, day to day life feel. Cinematic documentary-like. It’s a touching window into a town and culture that’s captured with a calm eye that sees all.


John Reddy in "Songs My Brothers Taught Me" (2015)


The two leading kids are absolute stars! They’re what suck me and fall in love with their journey. Played by John Reddy and Jashaun St. John. I love their turn from the norm to cast local and non-acting talent! It really shows that you don’t need a star every time!


This isn’t necessarily a film where I relate a whole lot on the cultural level, it’s more one where I sit back and learn about it. Immerse myself in their world and let them teach me. That’s one of my favorite things about movies or stories I should say. I will admit I recognized Irene Bedard, who I adore as the voice of the classic ‘Pocahontas’ as well as ‘Wichapi in HBO’s ‘Westworld’, but other than that the rest of the cast were all fresh faces to me.


Jashaun St. John in "Songs My Brothers Taught Me" (2015)


What I do relate to is the feelings of not wanting someone to leave. I relate to the feeling of falling in love and there’s nothing else in sight. I relate to losing what you love and navigating your way back to living. I relate to the family and to the love our characters are feeling. To the human emotions that connect us all and that this film so beautifully captures!


#SongsMyBrothersTaughtMe Brotherss Taught Me" (2015)

It’s a magnificent start to anyone’s career involved, but especially writer and director Chloe Zhao! To think that someone could start with a small film like this and go to where she’s gone today with Marvel’s next upcoming blockbuster film (which will be Marvel’s most DIVERSE team up film to date - what I think the Avengers should have been); “The Eternals” (2021) coming this November. It’s so inspiring especially as an Asian American! I cannot wait to see where her career takes her after! I know “The Eternals” (2021) will be a hit!


Written by Sam Gall on 09/16/21


CGC Grading: Gem Mint 10.0


"Songs My Brothers Taught Me is a beautifully shot film that honestly portrays the realities of the lives of a group of people in all of its hardship and also its beauty." - Trent Neely, Battle Royale With Cheese


"Chloe Zhao's directorial debut Songs My Brothers Taught Me is a quiet, sensitive indigenous coming-of-age story set as high school graduation nears on the Pine Ridge Reserve." - Alex Heeney, Seventh Row


"A deeply intelligent and sympathetic rendering of real-life situations, using nonprofessionals playing approximations of themselves." - Peter Bradshaw, Guardian


"The mystery and magic grow the longer you let it rest. Understated, but still impressive." - Ella Kemp, Little White Lies


"Zhao, a first time filmmaker, patiently observes these conundrums rather than passing judgment, and her stellar cast of non-professional actors delivers a great ensemble performance." - Glenn Heath Jr., San Diego CityBeat


Official Trailer:


Behind the Scenes:


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