Be Somebody

Movie review by
Barbara Shulgasser-Parker, Common Sense Media
Be Somebody Movie Poster Image
Sweet coming-of-age tale about two teen artists.
  • PG
  • 2016
  • 87 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

age 10+
Based on 3 reviews

Did this review miss something on diversity?

Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive, diverse representations in books, TV shows, and movies. Want to help us help them? Suggest a diversity update

We think this movie stands out for:

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

Nobody has it all figured out, even if it seems that they do. We all need time for ourselves. Life doesn't come with guarantees, so you might as well take risks. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Emily is an independent-minded artist who is focused on making her uncompromised art and earning enough money to go to art school in New York. Jordan is a teen musical superstar who is so used to adulation that he's surprised when he meets someone who doesn't care about his fame.  


Teens jump a locked school gate and illegally stencil life-affirming art and messages on school walls. 


Hooking up is mentioned as a part of high school life, but in a negative context.


"Heck," "dork."

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

In a brief scene, an unattractive character seems to be drunk at a party.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Be Somebody is a thoughtful look at teenage artists, one a successful pop singer with throngs of fans and no life to himself, and the other a high school street artist hoping for a scholarship to a New York art school. The burdens of fame are addressed, as are the responsibilities that talent and intelligence bestow on kids. A high schooler appears to be drunk at a party. Two teens paint art on school walls, which is technically vandalism, but the work has positive messages.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Teen, 14 years old Written byborkenx January 8, 2020

Reminds me

It reminds me of Disney’s Starstruck. The acting does seem a little awkward otherwise it’s a fine movie to watch when bored.
Teen, 13 years old Written byacf123501 December 16, 2018

It was ok...

The film was ok not the best but decent. Overall the movie has some not so positive messages like it says that tagging schools and public places is ok and that... Continue reading

What's the story?

Mega-pop star Jordan Jaye (Matthew Espinosa, a Viner and YouTuber) has much in common with Justin Bieber. He struggles with rabid fans accosting him on the street. His love life is fodder for tabloid media.  BE SOMEBODY is about the downside of fame and what you lose when you gain everything you thought you wanted. Jordan misses moments alone, unscheduled time to contemplate, the assurance that the people he hangs out with are not with him just because he's famous. One night while on tour near Los Angeles, his mom-manager leaves him alone on their tour bus and, with baseball cap, hoodie, and skateboard, he jumps out to clear his head. He's quickly chased by fans and begs Emily (Sarah Jeffrey, from TV's Shades of Blues) to let him into her pizza delivery car and whisk him to safety. His interest is piqued when she doesn't fawn on him. The bus leaves for Las Vegas without Jordan and since staying at a hotel will attract fans and the media, Jordan begs Emily to put him up at her suburban home, where cop dad and working mom may find the arrangement questionable. He spends the night on the floor in her bedroom, which is filled with her artwork, and this leads to discussions of the meaning of art and its social importance. Jordan becomes a fan and, with his assistance, they spend the next night spray-painting her clever and life-affirming images on her school's walls. No one seems to care at school the next day. Their relationship deepens. While he does go to Vegas to return to his tour, he is drawn back to Emily and a future friendship -- or maybe more -- seems possible.  

Is it any good?

Matthew Espinosa and Sarah Jeffrey believably inhabit their characters and imbue them with intelligence and vulnerability, rare for any actor, never mind such young ones. Be Somebody writer Lamar Damon, an active TV producer, and director Joshua Caldwell earnestly tackle the difficulties of two challenging subjects -- growing up and handling success- - without resorting much to cliché. But more than that, they try to give honest voice to the worries and concerns of young artists who are still looking for ways to express creativity without compromising principles. Emily gave up a good friend because the friend wanted to be popular and changed herself to achieve that goal. Jordan is a great financial success but Emily's discipline and integrity make him reconsider what kind of singer he wants to be. He worries that if he expresses his true self, "maybe no one will like it." For all those reasons, the movie is a cut above the usual teen-directed fare. It would have been great if the movie's focus were sharpened a bit earlier as opening scenes lag a bit. Jordan's mother-manager echoes many stock characters seen in other films, and the director spends a straight 50 seconds showing us a tour bus travel down a night highway. Why? Dunno. But, for all the right reasons, this movie echoes the 1953 classic movie Roman Holiday, with Audrey Hepburn as a princess who escapes her keepers and duties for a few days of normal life, and that's pretty good. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the downside of fame. Most kids think it would be fun to be rich and famous. How does Be Somebody try to present the reality of a life under scrutiny of fans and media?


  • Do you think some famous people miss the ability they had before fame to go about life unrecognized? How might the constant pressure of being recognized become a burden?

  • Some kids choose not to be popular because they believe other things in life are more important. Is it difficult to stand apart from what the rest of the crowd is doing? Why? 

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love rom-coms

Character Strengths

Find more movies that help kids build character.

Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.

See how we rate

Streaming options powered by JustWatch

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality.

Learn how we rate