El Cantante

  • Review Date: October 29, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Another singer self-destructs, to a Latin beat.
  • Review Date: October 29, 2007
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2007
  • Running Time: 116 minutes

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Leading characters exhibit self-destructive behavior and are hurtful to others; women are treated as sexual objects and abused verbally; drug use shown to destroy relationships, careers, and family.

Violence

Intense domestic verbal fighting with threat of violence; firearm used for purpose of intimidation.

Sex

Adulterous behavior, sexual foreplay, and off-camera intercourse; seductive dancing; two adults in a provocative bathtub scene; no actual nudity.

Language

Continuous use of cursing; "f---k" in all forms is used in almost every scene.

Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Both leading characters are drug addicts and are pictured high and/or incapacitated throughout; drugs are clearly ingested and injected in numerous scenes, and use is implied in others; frequent alcohol consumption leads to anti-social and cruel behavior.

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that even though J Lo is popular with younger teens, this isn't a movie for that age group. The characters abuse alcohol, engage in excessive drug use, curse frequently, and generally display self-degrading, suicidal behavior. Many scenes depict explicit drug use and sexual activity, mostly motivated by the mind-altering substances. Though the audience soon understands that there's little hope for Hector Lavoe and his family, the characters themselves seem unable to change their conduct, even at the risk of their own lives and the lives of loved ones. It's a non-stop downward spiral without a happy ending.

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's the story?

Hector Lavoe (Marc Anthony) was the most exciting voice in the volcanic eruption of the new Latin American music. In the late 1960s -- early 1970s, Lavoe and his contemporaries combined the pulsing rhythms of the streets of Puerto Rico and New York City with more traditional Latin sounds, spurring the spicy "salsa" phenomenon. This biopic chronicles Lavoe's story as he falls in love, has a family, realizes enormous success, and is then seduced by money, adulation, and the drug culture. And so it goes: Hector's wife, Puchi (Jennifer Lopez) pleads with him (while actively doing drugs herself); Hector doesn't listen. One calamity follows another, until the flame dies and hearts are broken.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

EL CANTANTE brings the magic of salsa music to the screen; unfortunately, it also brings the audience another bleak story of a flameout singer bent on self-destruction. Director Leon Ichaso, faced with the difficult task of taking a story that's been told many times, partially succeeds in making the material special. The colorful music and dancing are wonderful; the movie transitions through time and place with grace and coherence. What's missing is motivation and an understanding of what made these charismatic and talented people self-destruct.

Hector was such a sweet young man; Puchi seemed innocent in spite of a young sophistication. Both Anthony and Lopez fully commit to their roles. He's terrific, and this is the most authentic that Lopez has ever been. As the framing structure for the movie, Ichaso uses an interview with Puchi conducted long after her husband's death. But it simply isn't enough to help the audience understand Lavoe's self-imposed downfall.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about the many celebrities who have struggled with drug and alcohol abuse. Why did Lavoe, who was talented and had achieved fame and had a loving family and friends behave in such a disastrous way? What traits might help someone famous stay grounded and be able to cope with stardom? Would those traits be helpful for the average person as well? How did the music, and particularly the lyrics, add to your understanding of the characters?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:August 3, 2007
DVD release date:October 30, 2007
Cast:Christopher Becerra, Jennifer Lopez, Marc Anthony
Director:Leon Ichaso
Studio:Picturehouse
Genre:Drama
Run time:116 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:language, drug use and sexuality.

This review of El Cantante was written by

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

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

See all user reviews

Share your thoughts with other parents and kids Write a user review

A safe community is important to us. Please observe our guidelines

Adult Written byelmasizo April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 
Adult Written byAvatar_scott April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

not fit for children 16 and under

If you people want to set an example then that would be to not let your children watch rated R movies until their 17 because if you dont then they will become snoty and mean and start to say nasty words to elder people and yonger people.
Adult Written byANGELIQUE April 9, 2008
AGENot rated for age
QUALITY
 

AMAZING - I STILL LOVE MY PEOPLE THROUGH THE PAIN

I watched this movie 4 times. Marc Anthony nailed this role. I hate when people say Jennifer stole the spotlight, no she did the damn thing she is an amazing person and they made me get angry, cry, shout, laugh, sing and dance. I felt like I was right there. Even though Hector struggled he made an indent on so many lives, my Grandmother still plays his songs. It definitely brought back memories. Thank you for making this movie! **They rated it bad because they just don't understand, not a lot of people will.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Digital Compass