Joyful Noise

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Joyful Noise Movie Poster Image
Uplifting but cliched film has great songs, bland story.
  • PG-13
  • 2012
  • 118 minutes

Parents say

age 13+
Based on 18 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 16 reviews

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

A dying Georgia town has little to cheer except the church choir that's on the way to the regional sing-off championship, and even the people who are losing their jobs and struggling to keep their families together in tough times find joy in singing and their faith.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Just about everyone in this film is decent, trying to do the right thing. They may not always agree on what that is, and they sometimes get into heated arguments, but everyone basically wants only the best for everyone else.


Three teen boys get into a fight that leaves two of them bruised and bleeding. A mother and daughter get into a heated shouting match, and one of them slaps the other. All of the conflicts are later resolved amicably.


A young couple flirts with each other in the first half of the film and exchanges a few kisses by the end. Two adults are shown making out feverishly; they're next seen the following morning, with the implication being that they slept together. A woman earns, perhaps unfairly, a unique reputation after a man dies in her bed.


Occasional swearing includes ""s--t," "ass," "bitch," "damn," "hell," "oh my God," and "pissed off." A mother and daughter repeatedly say "bulls--t" during an argument.


A few brands appear onscreen, including Sanyo televisions and Wyndham hotels. A wealthy character sometimes flaunts her money, including her indulgence in cosmetic surgery.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that, overall, Joyful Noise is more wholesome than not, despite some swearing (including "s--t" and "bitch") and sexual content (kissing/making out; implied sex between adults). Set in a struggling Georgia town where the only thing giving residents hope is a church choir on the way to the regional sing-off, the movie also has some moderate conflict between choir members, a fist fight that leaves two teens bloody and bruised, and angry confrontations between a teenage girl yearning for independence and her mother, who wants to protect her. But the characters generally want the best for each other, and the movie's underlying uplifting messages are about faith and spirituality.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bydorakay January 22, 2012

Loud musical disrespectful movie

Not at all what I expected. No need for sex and bad language but it is there anyway. Choir members having sex is disgusting.
Adult Written byAmerica's Angel March 8, 2021

You can't go wrong with God, comedy & sass!

This movie has a wonderful story line with plenty of God's love and teachings while also having plenty of funny moments throughout. There is 2 mild makeout... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written byliltrout February 5, 2012


I actually went to see this with a friend who had been dying to see this movie. Going into it, I had no intentions of seeing I just went with my friend just bei... Continue reading
Teen, 15 years old Written byMalak Sh June 19, 2017

What's the story?

The Pascashau Divinity Church Choir is on the way to the regional sing-off championship, but there's dissension in the ranks. Newly appointed director Vi Rose (Queen Latifah) insists on sticking to the tried-and-true spirituals, but rival G.G. (Dolly Parton) wants to add some more modern sounds. The conflict gets even more heated when G.G.'s grandson, Randy (Jeremy Jordan), comes to visit and is immediately smitten with Vi Rose's teenage daughter, Olivia (Keke Palmer). Will they work out their differences before the big competition, or will their messy conflicts undermine the choir's performance?

Is it any good?

If JOYFUL NOISE had just been a concert film -- rather than a hybrid struggling for cohesion -- it would have been a great movie. It's feel-good, and the uplifting song-and-dance numbers are great. But the movie falls flat with messy storytelling and edits, lack of focus, and a case of too-many-plotlines-spoil-the-broth-itis. It clearly means well, but it's predictable and cliched.

Which is a shame, because the cast has so much potential. Queen Latifah completely sells her role as a single mom who can express everything she feels with a nod and a shrug, and Parton is (as always) fun to watch as a folksy spitfire who loves to speak her mind. Newcomer Jordon also stands out, with a strong singing voice and a natural way with the camera. Too bad the script doesn't give any of them enough to work with.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Joyful Noise's messages. What do you think filmmakers want audiences to take away? How can you tell?

  • Are the characters (particularly the teens) believable? Do you think their decisions are relatable?

  • Talk about the relationship between Olivia and her mother. Why are they fighting? Is it possible they're both right?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love song and dance

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

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