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A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Faith is more important than money. Success isn't everything. You should take the time to get to know people and respect their choices.
Positive Role Models
All characters are well-intentioned but most are drawn simplistically as believers or nonbelievers, with the addendum that even the most well-intentioned non-believer is still on the wrong path. Many characters have a kind of folksy wisdom about God and belief.
Violence & Scariness
References to deceased family members and parents who have died in a car crash or a plane crash or were hurt in a car accident but then survived. A man tells a story of a tribe of men who murder a group of missionaries.
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Products & Purchases
Flashy cars, status, wealth are used to depict a character as shallow and worldly.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Brief reference to a mother with a drinking problem.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Ring the Bell is a heavy-handed Christian drama that features an orphanage full of young boys and teens who've lost their parents, either through abandonment, alcoholism, or deaths that are referenced. There also are long scenes of characters talking about faith and God and encouraging other characters to become Christian. There's a long scene featuring a Christian concert, followed by a sermon and call to confess. There's a plot about a sports agent who tries to sign a young baseball player, but the focus is on getting this guy to see that his shallow life of money, cars, and success is nothing if he doesn't have God. There are positive lessons about living an honorable life and spending time with others and getting to know them to better understand their point of view, as well as being transformed by witnessing kindness to become more kind and giving in one's own life, but all this is sold through a strong message to recruit believers. Best for older kids and not likely to hold the attention of young ones. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
RING THE BELL starts out innocently enough. Here's a story about a hard-charging sports agent whose cockiness all but begs for a takedown, and there's some baseball thrown in to boot. The problem is, you don't expect the takedown to be quite so long-winded or quite so overt a sell on Christianity. What follows are a serious of scenes of sincere, long, thoughtful conversations about God, faith, and change and a host of characters full of preternaturally deep, folksy, Bible-quoting wisdom. Everyone is saintly in his or her devotion to goodness; each is waiting patiently for as long as it takes for the main character to come around. There are scenes designed to show the goodness of Christians, but they're sentimental and overwrought: a pair of siblings who run an orphanage whose own parents then died in a plane crash, making them orphans; an entire Christian music performance, sermon, and call to confess wedged in the middle of the film. It veers into caricature before it can preach to anyone but the choir and renders everything in black and white. There are people who believe and people who don't, and it's highly doubtful anyone who doesn't is going to find inspiration here.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.