A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this movie.
Some greed, some family tensions, competition and arguments between childhood friends.
Violence & Scariness
Two scenes showing parents' deaths.
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Sex, Romance & Nudity
Some sexual language and imagery (in an R&B concert, in a married couple's bedroom); no sex per se.
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Products & Purchases
Thematic, in the sense that characters consider how to expand and essentially, "sell" the church.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
Some drinking and smoking, clearly framed as self-destructive behavior.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this film includes two scenes showing parents' deaths, and ongoing discussions about how to cope with such loss and the resulting anger and sadness. The film includes mildly sexual images (a husband and wife appear in bed together) and early on, an R&B dance performance featuring gyrating bodies. Focused on family tensions, the film includes various scenes showing discord between father and son, husband and wife, a couple trying to get back together, and former best friends. In an early scene, characters briefly smoke, dance suggestively, and drink in a red-lit nightclub. Later, in despair, a character drinks alone in his home, then while he is driving. To stay in the loop on more movies like this, you can sign up for weekly Family Movie Night emails.
Is It Any Good?
THE GOSPEL is inspiring and energetic when it's focused on music. Assembled by Kirk Franklin, the numbers are lively and sometimes -- as in the case of Yolanda Adams' brief performance -- quite brilliant. For the most part, however, the movie is awkwardly structured and soapily slow-moving. The film is hampered by a clunky structure (some scenes seem cut together randomly, others just click time while waiting for the next choir number) that detracts from its basic theme, the simultaneous conflict and sameness between pop music stardom and church celebrity and commercialism, and the emphasis on profits that drives both.
David's confused priorities are revealed in his tense relationship with his former childhood friend and classmate, now Reverend Charles Frank (Idris Elba), who means to take over the church from Fred and feels competitive with David. In this enterprise, Frank is both egged on and challenged by his wife (and David's cousin) Charlene (Nona Gaye, mostly reduced to reaction shots). While they refer mysteriously to their "problem," Lifetime-movie-style, the reason for their estrangement is both repressed and obvious, in the form of clichés.
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Our Editors Recommend
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