Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat

  • Review Date: July 21, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 80 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Stage musical successfully brought to the screen.
  • Review Date: July 21, 2005
  • Rated: NR
  • Genre: Musical
  • Release Year: 2000
  • Running Time: 80 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

Joseph's father is obviously a polygamist.

Violence & scariness

A sheep is dismembered (though it's clearly a mannequin-like fake).

Sexy stuff

Fully-clothed dancers simulate orgies with mildly suggestive choreography.

Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that this Old Testament tale is suitable for grade-school kids. Some things to note: Joseph's solo ballad laments persecution of the Hebrews. Joseph's father is obviously a polygamist. Fully-clothed dancers simulate orgies with mildly suggestive choreography. A sheep is dismembered (though it's clearly a mannequin-like fake). Religious viewers may have qualms about the treatment of the Scripture-based material (God is barely mentioned here). The themes of sibling rivalry, jealousy, and ultimate forgiveness, however, are universal.

Parents say

Kids say

What's the story?

Schoolchildren assemble for an Old Testament pageant, but once the music begins, the onstage action becomes real, and the school's headmaster (Richard Attenborough) reappears as Jacob, father to eleven sons. After Jacob gives favored son Joseph (Donny Osmond) a present of a spectacular, multicolored coat, his jealous brothers fake the boy's death. In fact, Joseph has been sold into slavery in Egypt, where he's unjustly accused of dallying with a pyramid tycoon's vampish wife (Joan Collins). In prison, he gains fame interpreting fellow inmates' dreams, and is then called on to explain the Pharaoh's troubling nightmares, after which he's hired as Pharaoh's top advisor. Years pass, and Joseph's famine-stricken brothers come to Egypt to buy grain. Unrecognized, Joseph bitterly frames his youngest brother for thievery. But when the remaining brothers selflessly offer to accept his punishment, Joseph is moved to reveal his true identity, and the family is happily reunited.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

JOSEPH AND THE AMAZING TECHNICOLOR DREAMCOAT retains all the sparkling wit, style, and melodies of the original Broadway musical. In a nimble eighty-minutes, viewers get a banquet of different musical styles. Jacob is told of Joseph's "death" in a twangy country-western lament; Pharaoh relates his dreams in pure Elvis style (he is The King, after all); the framing of brother Benjamin is set to Caribbean calypso; and the rest is Andrew Lloyd Webber's popular brand of catchy power pop. The multi-ethnic cast (old Jacob evidently had wide-ranging tastes in wives) contributes to the world-beat feel.

Donny Osmond's all-American good looks make him a very likeable Joseph. The real find here, however, is Maria Friedman. Introduced as a mousy schoolteacher, she blossoms into a superb narrator. Her expressive face lets the audience know just what's going on (a great asset since the lyrics by Tim Rice -- of The Lion King fame -- are occasionally obtuse). As with the movie Godspell, religious viewers may have qualms about the treatment of the Scripture-based material (God is barely mentioned here). The themes of sibling rivalry and ultimate forgiveness, however, are universal.

Families can talk about...

  • Families can talk about how they handle feelings of jealousy. Why did Joseph ultimately forgive his brothers?

Movie details

Theatrical release date:July 21, 2000
DVD release date:March 4, 2003
Cast:Donny Osmond, Joan Collins, Richard Attenborough
Director:David Mallet
Studio:Universal Pictures
Genre:Musical
Run time:80 minutes
MPAA rating:NR

This review of Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat 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

Teen, 13 years old Written byleftbehindcrazed8 June 26, 2011
AGE
6
QUALITY
 

:-) i'm in the play - it's awesome

I haven't actually seen the MOVIE, but I'm in the PLAY and it's a great storyline, especially for Christians like myself!!! (hahahaha) (follow up - the play is now over. so sad. but it was still tons of fun and i loved it! still a great message!)
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 15 years old Written byOGORMAN February 5, 2011
AGE
7
QUALITY
 

An educational Christian movie.

This movie is very educational and funny for young kids and parents alike. Told through song, kids easily access the meaning of Joseph and his struggles while also being thoroughly entertained. The only thing that worries me about this movie is some of the outfits; some are a little skin-tight and at times Joseph's (Donny Osmond) clothing is a little too short.
What other families should know
Too much sex
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Teen, 13 years old Written byFathomT January 8, 2015
AGE
9
QUALITY
 

Dead

I normally don't like movie musicals. The main reason for this is that without being in the audience, a lot of the time the performers seem to give off no energy and kinda look dead. There are a quite a few exceptions, Chicago almost (almost) works better on screen, Into the Woods perfectly captures the wit and darkness of the stage production, Mamma Mia is fun and the only thing wrong with 2012 Les Mis is Russell Crowe. However, there are many examples of really crappy movie musicals, The Producers fails to capture the screwball energy it should, all the NBC live productions feature at least 3 weak links, and this has no good performances, is so freaking over the to cheesy, and has no energy from anywhere. The only thing that makes me not rate this 1 star is that it has a so-bad-it's-good theme (that gets really old fast) and really great music. Buy a cast album instead. If telling a kid this won't help, then the only thing wrong with tis is one number where Joseph's boss's wife tries to seduce him, and then has what I think is some kind of orgy with him after he won't comply. Most kids won't pick up on the sexual side, but from personal experience, I can tell you that there aren't a lot of things creepier than a 5 year old constantly repeating the line "come and lie with me in love" (a line from the movie.). Plus, Joseph's dad is very obviously a polygamist. Not really OK for the youngest, but the oldest will hate it.
What other families should know
Too much sex

Poll

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

Digital Compass