Quincy

Movie review by
Renee Schonfeld, Common Sense Media
Quincy Movie Poster Image
Docu of prolific musician/composer/producer; some profanity.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 125 minutes

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

Positive Messages

Celebrates music of all genres. Music has power to change lives. With talent, confidence, strong work ethic, a motherless boy from South Side of Chicago reaches highest echelon of the arts. Nurturing talent in others is its own unique gift. 

Positive Role Models & Representations

Along with being uniquely talented, Jones is hardworking, resourceful, determined, willing to take risks. He's grateful for what he has been given and for what he has earned. He appears to recognize his flaws (a less-than-perfect parent, a heavy drinker) and to take positive steps to change behavior. An outstanding role model for an aging population, Jones continues to contribute to the arts in substantial ways.

Violence
Sex

References to infidelity and promiscuity.

Language

Coarse language throughout:  "pimp," "s--t," "ass," many forms of "f--k." One use of the "N" word.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Makes it clear that Jones has had a longtime struggle with alcohol; he comments that he has finally given it up. Cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Quincy is a documentary about Quincy Jones, a multitalented musician, composer, and producer. Co-directed by one of his six daughters, actress and filmmaker Rashida Jones (with Alan Hicks), the movie encapsulates a lifetime of personal milestones, achievements, and struggles, and, as a bonus, presents an in-depth, clear-eyed picture of the man today, in his mid-80s, still vital and creative. The movie is intended for both admirers of Jones himself and for fans of a variety of iconic artists like Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra, and Michael Jackson, whose lives and work he influenced. Best for mature viewers, as there's occasional profanity, including "f--k," "s--t," "ass," and one use of the "N" word. In addition, references are made to Jones' issues with alcohol and infidelity.

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What's the story?

A wide range of interviews and archival film footage, as well as extensive time spent with the subject as he is now, are at the heart of co-directors Rashida Jones' and Alan Hicks' very personal look at Quincy Jones in QUINCY. Jones' 70-year-plus career includes performing, composing (six Academy Award nominations for his film scores), orchestrating/arranging, producing (most famously Michael Jackson's Thriller video and Academy Award-nominated film The Color Purple), and mentoring young talent. He's the most Grammy-nominated musician in history with 79; he's won 27. In addition, he is the recipient of the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award given by the Motion Picture Academy. His personal life -- three marriages, seven children, recurring physical challenges -- is integrated with the musical history. The narration is primarily delivered by Quincy himself as he reflects on his successes, his failures, and the lifetime effects of an impoverished childhood and mentally ill mother.

Is it any good?

Rashida Jones and co-director Alan Hicks have filmed a celebration of the life of an extraordinary talent with an illustrious musical history and an intriguing personal life. And Quincy is without question a celebration. The man's struggles -- with a fraught childhood and a less-than-stable personal life in his adult years -- are reflected upon, but not explored in-depth. It's the filmmakers' choice, as is having Jones himself do the narration. It's a daughter's prerogative to help establish her father's substantial legacy. Jones and Hicks clearly give Quincy Jones his due. The many historical moments -- his partnerships with other musical icons, earliest jobs with Lionel Hampton, Count Basie, and others, his stunning participation in film scoring and producing (The WizThe Color Purple) -- are film highlights. 

Running a little over two hours, the film feels long at times, and the countless moves from the present to the past and back again aren't always seamless. Still, Quincy is a welcome tribute to a man whose work ethic is almost as astonishing as his talent, and whose efforts on behalf of others deserve recognition. 

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about the intentions of documentary filmmaking: to inform, entertain, persuade, and/or inspire. Which category or categories best characterize Quincy? Why?

  • The film chronicles decades of American music, all as one man participated in its evolution. List the many genres of music in which Jones made his indelible mark. How does this fact help explain Quincy Jones' very earnest instruction "Stop categorizing music!"?

  • What character traits and/or life skills did Jones demonstrate as he built a successful career (e.g., perseverance, determination)? Which traits or skills did he demonstrate as he reached out to help others (e.g., gratitude, compassion)?

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