Songs for a Sloth
By Tara McNamara,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Quirky comedy has mild content but is meant for adults.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
When it comes to your life, your approval is more important than the approval of others. Following your dreams slowly is better than not following them at all.
Positive Role Models
Characters may be fine people, but no one stands out as a role model. Siblings may bicker, but they love and support each other.
Violence & Scariness
A paintball pelting leaves welts. Arguing turns into flipping tables. Story deals with loss.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Songs for a Sloth is a musical dramedy about grappling with loss. Since there's virtually no iffy content and it features an adorable animal puppet voiced by Jack McBrayer, some may think this movie is targeted at kids. It's not, but it's also not inappropriate for them: The subject matter is just better suited for older viewers. The story is about a responsible man who abandoned his dreams to be a singer-songwriter so that he could take care of his ailing father while his siblings pursued artistic paths. In the wake of his father's death, he realizes the consequences of stifling your own happiness to please others. The movie's sibling relationship is laugh-out-loud authentic, filled with relatable love, teasing, resentment, and exasperation. Part of the story is about saving the sloths, but this isn't a conservation effort, and the information seems more dubious than accurate. As the title indicates, the film has some full-on musical performances that are pretty good -- and kind of funny.
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Songs for a Sloth
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What's the Story?
In SONGS FOR A SLOTH, advertising executive Maxwell (Richard Hollman) learns that his late father pledged a huge philanthropic commitment to save an endangered species. When a talking sloth (voiced by Jack McBrayer) comes to Maxwell in his dreams, he becomes consumed with raising the money at any personal cost to maintain his father's legacy.
Is It Any Good?
As wacky as its premise might seem, this unique musical dramedy co-starring a talking sloth is actually pretty mainstream and perfectly fine. It deals with the shake-up of understanding how our parents have shaped who we've become -- combined with the wake-up of realizing who we'd like to be without their intereference. The sloth is Maxwell's subconscious giving him guidance that leads to self-discovery. While Songs for a Sloth isn't likely to change anyone's life, many will appreciate watching someone else's catharsis. Maxwell is a stand-in for writer-director Bradley Hasse, who similarly abandoned his artistic dreams for a stable income in advertising so that he could take care of his sick father; he eventually came back to his dream of making movies.
While he came to filmmaking later in life, Hasse demonstrates that he's got the goods. The script is an original, and the actors are wonderful. The sloth scenes are the slowest (makes sense), while the interactions between the siblings sizzle. Maxwell's irresponsible artist brother Barney (Brian McCarthy) is an ideal comic foil to suffocatingly responsible Max. It makes you wonder why you don't see McCarthy in more substantial roles more often. When sister Jenna (Ava Eisenson) shows up, the trio's dynamic feels totally authentic: They're siblings who jab at one other while also worrying about and caring for one other. Eisenson brings full dimension to a character who could easily be a caricature: a social media influencer who sees her career as an artistic endeavor. The chemistry between the trio and their individual delivery is top-notch; when they're together, this film about family sings.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Songs for a Sloth portrays family relationships. Do the characters and their interactions seem believable? Relatable?
The film suggests that people must either be creatively free or take a job they're unhappy with. What other options exist? Does a person's creative outlet also need to be their source of income?
Why are storytelling devices like imaginary friends or receiving messages in dreams often used in movies? What do they help filmmakers achieve?
Who do you think the movie's target audience is? How can you tell?
- In theaters: June 11, 2021
- On DVD or streaming: June 15, 2021
- Cast: Richard Hollman, Brian McCarthy, Jack McBrayer
- Director: Bradley Hasse
- Studio: Gravitas Ventures
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Brothers and Sisters, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Integrity, Self-control
- Run time: 85 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: December 7, 2022
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