Honey: Rise Up and Dance

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Honey: Rise Up and Dance Movie Poster Image
Solid dancing interrupted for predictable story; swearing.
  • PG-13
  • 2018
  • 100 minutes

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Work hard to realize your dreams.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Heroine pursues goal in spite of lack of confidence. She learns that taking a risk and working hard is worth the effort. Mom, who is dependable and wants for best for her children, underestimates one daughter and makes faulty assumptions; she learns from her mistake. Almost all African American cast. 

Violence

Threats of a fight, but it doesn't happen.

Sex

Kissing. Some skimpy clothing. Sexy dance moves throughout.

Language

Some mild profanity: "hell," "ass," "bitch," "damn," "I suck."

Consumerism

Apple computer.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Reference to one character dealing drugs in the past.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Honey: Rise Up and Dance is the fourth movie in a series about young hip-hop dancers. Kids dance everywhere -- in class, in clubs, in underground dance venues, on the streets, and while just hanging out. Dancing is spirited, kinetic, and includes lots of sexually-suggestive moves -- "shake, shake, shake your booty" almost non-stop. Each of the movies introduces new characters and tells different personal stories. The films, which seem to have great teen appeal, are all directed by Bille Woodruff and related simply by their association with Atlanta's Honey Daniels Dance Studio and the hip-hop dancing. In this installment, a talented young dancer has been overlooked while her sister has been the dancing "star." Her efforts to find her place in the dance world result in a predictable outcome with predictable events and character development along the way. Some mild swearing is heard occasionally, including "ass," "bitch," "damn," and "hell." It's noted that one of the leading characters was dealing drugs in the past but has been rehabilitated. 

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What's the story?

Skyler (Teyana Taylor) wants to dance in HONEY: RISE UP AND DANCE. April, her hardworking mom (Kwajalyn Brown), has other ideas, basically dismissing Skyler's passion and strongly urging her to go to medical assistant's school. It bothers Skyler a lot, particularly because April thinks Skyler's sister is the dancer in the family. However, when Skyler learns of a dance competition that will award the winner a full college scholarship, she's determined to pursue her dream, despite her mother's lack of confidence. Joining one of the city's two most prominent hip-hop dance teams, Skyler's a long shot, particularly since the "Pulsars," led by demanding coach Jada (Charmin Lee), already have several dancing divas attached, one of whom is intent on spoiling things for anyone in her way. Only one member of each team will compete for the scholarship, and Skyler simply won't give up. Meeting Tyrell, Jada's estranged son and an accomplished dancer himself, complicates matters, but his encouragement may just be the answer to her continuing self-doubt.  

Is it any good?

The Honey movie franchise seems to have an ardent fan base, with plenty of the expected dynamic hip-hop moves and vigorous dancers overcoming predictability, weak stories, and inconsistent acting. Honey: Rise Up and Dance, the fourth entry, is no exception. Credulity is stretched thin. Even the most unbelievable scenes -- kids doing fully-choreographed dance numbers in unison with no rehearsing or an untrained but enthusiastic dancer beating seasoned performers in a competition -- don't seem to dampen the enthusiasm for dance in this vibrant urban setting. Director Bille Woodruff, working with a cinematographer who knows how to light a scene, keeps the dances at the center of the movie. That's both the film's strength and weakness. With this much dancing and the heavy emphasis on pelvic action, even hip-hop can become boring after a while.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about what it takes for a dance movie, or any movie about a young person's passion, to be a success. Do you think the story matters? Fresh ideas? Unique characters? What are your favorite dance movies? Why?

  • Think about the predictability of Honey: Rise Up and Dance. When did you know how the story would end? Did anything unexpected happen in this film? How do surprises enhance the experience of watching a film?

  • Discuss the two main role models in this movie: Jada, the coach, and April, Skyler's mom. How did each of them affect Skyler's emotional journey? In what way(s) was Skyler a role model for her mom; what did April learn from her daughter? 

Movie details

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For kids who love dance

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