A lot or a little?
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Break the Silence: The Movie is a documentary about the world-renowned K-pop boy band BTS. As the seven-member group travel the world together, the movie attempts to take the audience behind the scenes with both backstage footage and interviews that probe their values and goals. The conversations revolve around trying to stay positive and grounded while growing up, and the band are polite, respectful, and show little ego. While matter-of-fact about how hard they have worked in order to gain and maintain their success, they're all also quick to acknowledge the privileged lives they lead. They are frequently concerned about their appearance -- for example in one scene, J-Hope covers his face with a pillow because he says he looks "ugly" before bed -- but their vanity is generally portrayed with good humor and self-deprecating charm. A brief clip of a music video shows one member advancing toward the screen dressed as a ceremonial warrior, holding a sword and sporting a fake scar down across one eye. At the end of the shot he makes a throat-slitting gesture with his finger, but this is dance-like rather than threatening. Screaming fans and a partially exposed midriff is as close as the movie comes to showing any kind of sex on screen. There is consumerism throughout with the pop stars wearing expensive clothes and jewelry, and regularly going on shopping trips, all while documenting themselves on their mobile devices.
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What's the story?
BREAK THE SILENCE: THE MOVIE is the fourth documentary and concert film about the internationally successful Korean boy band BTS. The movie follows the group throughout 2019, as they undertake their first international stadium tour. The interview footage features each member discussing life on and off stage.
Is it any good?
While technically a documentary, this movie plays more like an extended promo reel for BTS, a much-loved Korean boy band who regularly sell-out stadium venues across the globe. What's most remarkable about Break the Silence: The Movie is perhaps what it doesn't show you. There is little detail about the group's rise to the international dominance or any real acknowledgement of the huge crowds they play to across four continents. This arguably reflects the bubble in which BTS's fame requires them to exist -- BTS newcomers will need to find other means of learning about the band's background. But there's not much here for devoted fans to get their teeth into, either.
The camerawork for their dazzling live shows is pretty flat, while their performances sound overdubbed to the point where the crowd noise is just another effect. Critics may argue that this reflects the risk-free, manufactured nature of boy bands' music. Still, some more footage of the band on media duties or just of the time they spend talking among themselves, rather than their stilted to-camera interviews, would've made for a more interesting end product. Unfortunately, Break the Silence… isn't much to shout about.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the global appeal of BTS, as portrayed in Break the Silence: The Movie. What is it about them that makes them so popular? Did you expect BTS to be so popular in so many countries? Why do you think they appeal to people of all nationalities? Is this unusual when it comes to bands?
Would you describe the members of the band as positive role models? If so, why? What are some of the positive character strengths they display? Why are these good traits to have?
Did the behind-the-scenes access change the way you look at the lives of glamorous pop stars? How do the members of BTS use staying positive to help them cope with their unusual lives, and how does it help them feel connected to their fans? Were you surprised that they felt unhappy sometimes?
Discuss the consumerism and materialism displayed in the movie? Is it right for people to enjoy their wealth and success? When does it become a problem?
How does this movie compare with other music documentaries you've seen?
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