Saturday Church

Movie review by
Jeffrey M. Anderson, Common Sense Media
Saturday Church Movie Poster Image
Heartfelt coming-out musical has mature content.
  • NR
  • 2018
  • 82 minutes

Parents say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

Kids say

No reviews yetAdd your rating

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

It's essential to learn to believe in yourself, regardless of what other people tell you is right or wrong. Celebrates being true to who you are. Also matter-of-factly talks about homelessness and prostitution as all-too-ordinary facts of life for LGBTQ people.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Ulysses must endure bullies and small-minded relatives -- as well as a bout of homelessness and an act of prostitution -- before he discovers himself. But his journey ends in a good place, with freedom of expression, friends, and love. Conservative characters who try to impose their beliefs on others are viewed as villainous.

Violence

The main character's father is said to have died; family attends the funeral. Locker room bullies taunt a target; the main character's gym clothes are dropped in a dirty toilet. A character physically fights with his aunt; they briefly push and slap each other. Aunt threatens to "beat" a teen.

Sex

A character steals a gay porn magazine and masturbates (nothing graphic shown) to a photo of a naked male bottom. The main character performs an act of prostitution (off camera): He collects money, and a man unzips his pants and caresses the main character's naked chest. It's suggested that some characters may be prostitutes, with some discussion of sex. Teens kiss.

Language

Several uses of "motherf----r," "f--k," "bitch," "ho," "ass," "d--k," "hell," and "piss," plus "oh my God" (as an exclamation).

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

Adult man serves beer to a teen. Reference to "crack," reference to "smoking blunts." Brief cigarette smoking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that Saturday Church is a musical coming-out/coming-of-age story about the struggles of a teen boy who's gay and/or transgender. Expect to hear discussion of prostitution and see a suggested act of prostitution: A man pays a teen, unzips his own pants, and then touches a teen's chest. A teen steals a porn magazine and then masturbates (nothing graphic shown) to a picture of a naked man's bottom. Teen boys kiss. Language is very strong, with multiple uses of "motherf----r," "ass," "bitch," and more. There are threats, and the main character briefly fights physically with his aunt, including pushing and slapping. Locker room bullies taunt him and throw his gym clothes in a dirty toilet. An adult serves beer to a teen. There are references to crack and "smoking blunts," and brief cigarette smoking is seen. Like a good community theater production, the movie is amateurish but passionate.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

There aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

What's the story?

In SATURDAY CHURCH, New York teen Ulysses (Luka Kain) is unhappy. His father has just died; his mother, Amara (Margot Bingham), is forced to work double shifts to cover expenses; and mean Aunt Rose (Regina Taylor) has taken over the household. Ulysses is gay and drawn to dressing in women's clothes, though his little brother tattles when Ulysses tries on his mother's red high-heel shoes. Rather than face Rose's wrath, Ulysses heads to Christopher Street, where he meets colorful transgender friends Ebony (MJ Rodriguez), Dijon (Indya Moore), and Heaven (Alexia Garcia), as well as the kind, openly gay Raymond (Marquis Rodriguez). They take him to Saturday Church, a safe haven where the LGBTQ community can eat, find clothes, and dance. They also introduce him to the ball scene, which opens Ulysses' eyes even further. But after a blowout with Aunt Rose, Ulysses finds himself homeless for the first time -- and discovers what truly matters.

Is it any good?

Written and directed by Damon Cardasis, this coming-out story is fairly routine, but it sets itself apart from dozens of similar stories with its deeply felt musical fantasy sequences. Saturday Church isn't exactly polished; in truth, it sometimes feels very amateurish. It almost has the feel of a local community theater production, with everyone seeming to have put in everything they had. And, as is also often the case in community theater, passion and dedication help make up for lack of skill and sparkle.

The songs, co-written by Cardasis and Nathan Larson, and their accompanying dance routines range from poor to passable, but they're all performed with an immediate energy that can evoke smiles. Kain, as Ulysses, is another reason this works. Slim and angelic-looking, with expressive eyes, he's perfect for the role, and even if his Ulysses spends perhaps too much time sulking, he nevertheless captures a powerful kind of inner struggle. Bingham (Barbershop: The Next Cut) is another secret weapon, adding a layer of compassion to her harried-mom character. Saturday Church will certainly appeal to LGBTQ viewers, but it will also strike a chord with anyone who has a heart.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how Saturday Church represents the LGBTQ community. Is it fair and accurate? Is it compassionate, or does it judge?

  • How does the musical aspect of the movie fit in with the story? Did you enjoy the songs, or did they seem out of place?

  • Did you notice any stereotypes in the movie? If so, does the movie further these stereotypes, or does it dispel them?

  • How are bullies depicted? What are some real-life tactics for handling bullies?

  • What is the Saturday Church of the title? Does it seem like a helpful place? Do you know of any places like that?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

Browse titles with similar subject matter.

For kids who love musicals and coming-of-age stories

Our editors recommend

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.

See how we rate

About these links

Common Sense Media, a nonprofit organization, earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes when you use our links to make a purchase. Thank you for your support.

Read more

Our ratings are based on child development best practices. We display the minimum age for which content is developmentally appropriate. The star rating reflects overall quality and learning potential.

Learn how we rate