A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that this 3-D documentary about pop star Justin Bieber will be a must-see for his scores of tween and teen fans, who will love the footage from Bieber's early life, as well as the energetic concert scenes shot during a sold-out show at Madison Square Garden. With no iffy sex, violence, or language content to speak of, the film is surprisingly inspirational -- even those who aren't already Bieber fans are likely to walk away respecting not just his talent, but also his work ethic and family relationships. Just be ready for loads of enthusiastic screaming from young audience members (and maybe from a few grown-up fans, too).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
JUSTIN BIEBER: NEVER SAY NEVER follows the mega pop star during the 10-day lead-up to his biggest performance: a sold-out show in Madison Square Garden. As viewers see him hit other cities on his way to Manhattan, we meet his parents and grandparents, childhood friends, teachers, manager, vocal coach, bodyguard, tour manager, road manager, and various other members of his entourage. Audiences also watch Bieber grow up on screen, thanks to family videos.
Is it any good?
Surprisingly affecting in places, the movie reveals a young man who's willing to work hard and also stays grateful for the successes he's achieved in his young life. The home videos are especially crowd pleasing and include family moments that die-hard fans will appreciate. The film's narrative is emotionally rewarding for viewers, especially those who want to savor one song after another. Musical numbers are choreographed and shot well and even allowed to play to completion, without too many frustrating cuts. What's less satisfying is that we don't really hear much from Bieber himself. A boy with so many talents should be allowed to recount his own journey, and that would have given the film much more depth. And one other quibble: The 3-D bits feel unnecessary and gimmicky, a decision that seems to have been driven more by commerce than artistry. But, all of that said, Bieber's many fans, young and old(er), are sure to enjoy this look into his life.
Pretty much anyone who deals with tweens and teens -- teachers, parents, pediatricians, etc. -- knows who Justin Bieber is: the YouTube-to-riches singer/star who's taken the world by storm with his overswept hair, sincere voice, wicked dance steps, and astonishing facility with various musical instruments (piano, guitar, drums, the djembe). Never Say Never cements that mythology, and then some.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Bieber is viewed by his fans -- and portrayed by the media. What is his image? Does this film reinforce that image?
Do you consider Bieber a role model? If so, does he have responsibilities to his fans?
How is this film similar to, or different from, other concert documentaries?
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