Joyful Noise

  • Review Date: January 13, 2012
  • Rated: PG-13
  • Genre: Comedy
  • Release Year: 2012
  • Running Time: 118 minutes

Common Sense Media says

Uplifting but cliched film has great songs, bland story.
  • Review Date: January 13, 2012
  • 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.


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
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.

Parents say

Kids say

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.

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 release date:May 1, 2012
Cast:Dolly Parton, Kris Kristofferson, Queen Latifah
Director:Todd Graff
Studio:Warner Bros.
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

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  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

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Teen, 13 years old Written bylittlemonster98 January 14, 2012

Really inappopriate trailer...not that bad

This movie is very sexual for a PG-13, but is not anything else. Just cover your kids eyes for a few parts. Great message! Fun songs!
What other families should know
Too much sex
Parent Written byjagiann1005 January 15, 2012

You will enjoy it

I thought movie was good and my daughter who is 12 yrs old enjoyed it as well. Had just a few instances of foul language, but nothing she has not heard before. It reminds you of the movie Sister Act very much.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Parent of a 10 year old Written byafenrick January 13, 2012

PG-13 rating meant R-rated previews

I took three 9 year old girls to see this movie tonight. The language was a bit course and some of the sexual innuendo was inappropriate but overall they all enjoyed it and I didn't think it was too much for them. However, the previews shown at the theater were exceedingly inappropriate including hot steamy sex scenes and extreme violence. The previews were so bad that I considered leaving before Joyful Noise even started. I can only conclude that the previews were deemed "acceptable" because the were attached to a PG-13 movie. Parents be warned: get to the theater a bit late.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much swearing


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