Mama, I Want to Sing!

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
Mama, I Want to Sing! Movie Poster Image
Preachy musical has few surprises, not enough songs.
  • PG
  • 2012
  • 95 minutes

Parents say

age 2+
Based on 1 review

Kids say

age 13+
Based on 1 review

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A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Amara and her mother both find that success draws them away from their basic values, disrupting relationships within their family. Some peripheral messages about shopping as a cure for a bad day.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Amara's domineering mother, Lillian, frequently tells her children what they should do and is certain her view is the only right one -- even though her son and daughter are adults and are aware they can make their own decisions.


A character lands a job as a combat photojournalist in Iraq. A few scenes show soldiers in bombed-out neighborhoods, though there are no actual combat scenes. Some people argue heatedly.


A mother gets upset when her grown daughter sings onstage in a skimpy outfit and suggests that her wardrobe choices are a sign of her lapsing morals.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Amara gets slightly defiant after a few glasses of wine and gets upset when someone suggests she's had enough.

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).

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written byliberty12 August 19, 2012

Great Movie, shouldn't be underrated

Very good decent, family movie and I don't know what this site is talking about but there weren't any sex, violence, nor drugs in this movie at all. I... Continue reading
Teen, 13 years old Written bybefany April 10, 2012


this is a good inspirational story for children of ages 12-20

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?

Movie details

Our editors recommend

For kids who love musicals

Themes & Topics

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