The Dove Take:
“These Old Bones” has an old school vibe with an awareness for a multi-level lesson that will leave the audience thinking afterward. However, further episodes include heavy, mature content not suitable for most audiences.
**Disclaimer: Heartstrings is an episodic series. This review only reflects one episode which was given to us. All content in further episodes is viewed at your discretion.
Netflix has cast a wide net to bring these stories of Parton’s to life, with actors like Julianne Hough, Gerald McRaney, Delta Burke, Melissa Leo, Timothy Busfield, and Sarah Shahi. In “These Old Bones,” provided for review in advance, the story puts the talents of Kathleen Turner, Ginnifer Goodwin, and Kyle Bornheimer to work. Other songs that the anthology covers are “Jolene,” “If I Had Wings,” “JJ Sneed,” “Two Doors Down,” “Down From Dover,” “Sugar Hill,” and “Cracker Jack.”
“These Old Bones” begins with a brief intro from Dolly, before diving into a World War II-era drama about an urban lawyer returning to her hometown to convince an old mountain woman to stop hindering the sale of property to a corporation. Goodwin plays lawyer Genevieve, who finds herself drawn to Landon Rayfield (Bornheimer), a widowed lawyer raising his young son, while she tries to convince Bones (Turner) to release the lands to the timber company.
Genevieve is the main character whose arc the audience follows, a female figure who operates in the world of men, often navigating sexism and classicism, simultaneously. She believes that she needs to win to prove herself, and to set an example for women that they can operate in the courtroom. But Bones is a strong female character, too, bent on doing what she can do to help those in need, and refusing to give up on the gifts she believes come from God.
The bones in question in “These Old Bones” are obviously the ones that Bones reads, but they’re also the “old bones” of Bones herself in her advancing years … and the remains of our past that too often interfere with our futures. The narrative plays out as a courtroom drama (Does Bones practice something criminally? Should the town let the timber company buy everything up?), but it’s also a romance, a clash of cultures (and genders), and a theological exploration about how God speaks.
Based on subject matter discussed and briefly shown in passing, “These Old Bones” is Not Dove-approved.