By Andrea Beach,
Common Sense Media Reviewer
Common Sense Media Reviewers
Docu about pop star's album creation; smoking, cursing.
A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Songwriting, recording, and performing are collaborative efforts. "Teamwork makes the dream work."
Positive Role Models
Ed Sheeran comes across as affable, down-to-earth. He collaborates well with others, remaining open to other ideas that help him flesh out his own. He keeps close ties with his family, still refers to his mother as "Mommy," and unabashedly sings about emotions not often heard in pop music, such as love for his brother. He's shown visiting his old high school, teaching students about music, songwriting. He's shown smoking several times, drinking alcohol once or twice.
Sex, Romance & Nudity
One or two brief kisses. One song about physical attraction and intimacy isn't explicit but mentions things like how his bedsheets "smell like you."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Sex, Romance & Nudity in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
"F--k," "s--t," "hell," and "penis."
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Language in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Products & Purchases
Lots of clothing with logos, mostly for sports teams. In an extended scene, Sheeran's wearing a Hooter's T-shirt.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
One collaborator almost always has a cigarette in his mouth. Sheeran smokes several times. One or two brief scenes show alcohol consumption, usually at parties or celebrating album launch. Some song lyrics mention alcohol, cigarettes. For one song a producer encourages Sheeran to think up a lyric with alcohol or cigarettes to show mood.
Did you know you can flag iffy content? Adjust limits for Drinking, Drugs & Smoking in your kid's entertainment guide.Get started
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that Songwriter (2018) is a documentary about pop sensation Ed Sheeran's process making a new album. The emphasis is on the songwriting phase, of course, but recording and mixing the album are also shown. Band rehearsal and touring are also briefly explored. Expect some salty language, not too often, including "f--k," "s--t," and "hell." One song about physical attraction and intimacy isn't explicit but mentions things like how his bedsheets "smell like you." Drinking alcohol is shown two or three times. One collaborator almost always has a cigarette in his mouth, and Sheeran smokes several times. Sheeran comes across as an affable, down-to-earth fellow who's stayed close with friends and family while achieving every aspiring musician's dream.
To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Where to Watch
Videos and Photos
There aren't any parent reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.
What's the Story?
From riffing on ideas in the back of a tour bus to adjusting frequencies on the final mix, SONGWRITER shows the hard work, collaboration, teamwork, frustrations, and joys of Ed Sheeran's artistic process in creating the album Divide. Cameras operated by Sheeran's cousin capture the highs and lows and the unusual locations used -- everything from start to finish -- that went into creating the album.
Is It Any Good?
Ardent fans of Ed Sheeran will love soaking up every minute of this documentary about the creative process that led to the album Divide. Teens who are interested in music will also enjoy Songwriter's behind-the-scenes access: the gear, the recording equipment, the instruments. Watching a song grow from a few hummed phrases into a fully realized album track may inspire them to try an instrument or write a song themselves. Archival footage from Sheeran's childhood add to his wholesome appeal and help fans visualize the world he inhabits and sings about.
It's unlikely to hold the interest of those who aren't fans of Sheeran or interested in the music industry. Some parts of the process, like when he and a bunch of other songwriters are holed up in a house in Malibu, drag on for too long. And moments of genuine emotion are too few and far between to keep people hooked who aren't enjoying the music. But Sheeran fans will no doubt want to watch it over and over again.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about how Songwriter shows the songwriting process. Did anything about it surprise you? What character strengths make someone a good collaborator?
Why is Ed Sheeran so popular? If you like his music, what's so great about it? What's your favorite song of his? If you don't like his music, why not? Who do you like better?
Why do you think this documentary was made? Is it for fans? To make money? Does it provide any real insights, or does it just seem gratuitous?
- In theaters: April 23, 2018
- On DVD or streaming: August 17, 2018
- Cast: Ed Sheeran
- Director: Murray Cummings
- Studio: Murray Pictures
- Genre: Documentary
- Topics: Arts and Dance, Music and Sing-Along
- Character Strengths: Teamwork
- Run time: 84 minutes
- MPAA rating: NR
- Last updated: March 8, 2023
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.
Suggest an Update
Where to Watch
Our Editors Recommend
Movies About Musicians
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