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 family drama includes some heated family arguments and plenty of discussions that center on faith and moral choices. Though the movie spends a lot of time on the potential problems that fame and success bring, the main characters eventually realize that family is the most important thing in their lives. Expect a bit of drinking, a few skimpy outfits, and scenes set in combat zones (though no actual combat is shown).
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Amara (played by Ciara), the daughter of a preacher and former star of the church choir, has grown up to become a pop sensation and is discovering that fame has certain requirements. Her mother, Lillian (Lynn Whitfield), a famous TV evangelist, fears that Amara is leaving her faith behind in the name of advancing her career. The two butt heads as they both become bigger and bigger stars, but in the end they realize that family is more important than any gig. Billy Zane co-stars as a controlling, domineering manager who hates women who won't do what he says -- pretty much the same character he played in Titanic -- and Patti LaBelle also appears as a family friend.
Is it any good?
This looks like it should be a musical, from the title to the main character who's a rising musical sensation -- so it's puzzling that there are so few songs. Amara is even played by Grammy-winning singer Ciara. Ciara mostly appears on stage, sings a few lines, and then the scene cuts to the end. Not until the third act does she actually get to sing an entire number. It's a mystery.
And certainly the director isn't cutting out the songs to make time for the rest of the story, because there isn't one. Amara's mom disapproves; the mother spends so much energy on her TV career that she has little attention left for her children; Amara's brother follows his dream, even though his family disapproves. There are a few more cliches as well, mostly focused on whether Amara is keeping true to her faith and whether her mother is losing track of what's important even as she rails on and on about spirituality. But it's not much of a story, it doesn't have much of an ending, and it tries way too hard to deliver its message.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about Amara's choices. Do you think she's straying from her faith in pursuit of fame? Do you agree with her mother, or do you think her mother is being narrow-minded? What are the movie's messages?
What do you thing about Amara's brother's decision to become a combat photojournalist? Should he follow his dream, even if it might lead him into danger? What kinds of sacrifices are you willing to make for your dreams?
- On DVD or streaming: February 14, 2012
- Cast: Ciara, Lynn Whitfield, Patti LaBelle
- Director: Charles Randolph-Wright
- Studio: Twentieth Century Fox
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Friendship, Great Girl Role Models, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 95 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: mild thematic elements
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.