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It’s a modest story of day to day life and struggle, simply stated and subtly performed against a soundtrack of Americana that’s as central a character as the two leads. Ryan Brenner, a travelling musician, and Jackie Laurel, a former singer at a crossroads in her marriage, meet by chance while Ryan is busking on the street. They share an immediate connection, but it’s fleeting, until a sudden accident propels them together.
If a film based on author Nicholas Sparks' work is like an over-produced power ballad with a 128-piece orchestra, writer/director Ami Canaan Mann's "Jackie & Ryan" is the non-ironic acoustic guitar cover of the same tune.
There's a familiar tune to this modest low-budget romance about musicians who fall in love, yet it's given a fresh spin by a set of charming performances and a screenplay that generally sidesteps cliches.
"Jackie & Ryan" may prove too low-key and deliberately paced for less patient viewers, but distinct pleasures are to be had from this compactly shot film's easy rhythms, affecting tone and nicely modulated performances.