Joyful Noise Movie Poster Image

Joyful Noise

Uplifting but cliched film has great songs, bland story.
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.

Violence

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.

Sex

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.

Language

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.

Consumerism

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
Not applicable

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.

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?

QUALITY

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:January 13, 2012
DVD/Streaming release date:May 1, 2012
Cast:Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Queen Latifah
Director:Todd Graff
Studio:Warner Bros.
Genre:Comedy
Topics:Friendship, Great boy role models, Great girl role models, Music and sing-along
Run time:118 minutes
MPAA rating:PG-13
MPAA explanation:some language including a sexual reference

This review of Joyful Noise 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 these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

About Our Ratings

The age displayed for each title is the minimum one for which it's developmentally appropriate.

Get more information about our ratings.

Great handpicked alternatives

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, 14 years old Written byliltrout February 5, 2012

Outstanding!

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 being a good friend and what not. At first, I didn't really like it only because in the back of my mind I knew I didn't want to be here. But the part that brought me into the movie was the singing. The main character, Keke Palmer started to sing Man in the Mirror and I blew me away! Throughout the whole movie, the singing was outstanding which also had a lot to do with the plot which made it one of the best movies I have had seen in a longtime! Other then the music, the Chemistry and message was what else really brought the movie together. This movie was no typical movie, it was defiantly one that really stood out to me.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Kid, 11 years old March 24, 2013

12 & Over, this will be your new fave movie

I am completely in love with this movie!! The rating says 10, I think 10 year olds are waaaayyy to immature for this movie. It shows some violence between the boys, some extreme kissing scenes and quite a few swear words. Other than that, this movie is a must watch!
What other families should know
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Parent Written byswaterfield February 3, 2012

Cute, uplifting movie

Overall an uplifting movie. My only big complaint was the sexual innuendos and relationships were more than I expected. The role models and message presented were great.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing