The Last Song

Movie review by
S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media
The Last Song Movie Poster Image
Sweet Miley Cyrus drama depicts first love, family troubles.
  • PG
  • 2010
  • 107 minutes

Parents say

age 12+
Based on 30 reviews

Kids say

age 11+
Based on 101 reviews

A lot or a little?

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

Positive Messages

Love transforms even the most hardened souls, though it’s not always enough to sustain marriages. But forgiveness helps bridge the gap. Also: Happy families might only appear that way, so it’s best not to judge from appearances. And music can bring you joy.

Positive Role Models & Representations

While initially not a great role model, Ronnie ultimately comes around. When she arrives in town she’s been arrested for shoplifting and though she’s been accepted at a prestigious music conservatory, she plans on not going. She’s also disrespectful of her parents, especially her father. However, she’s the one who changes the most in the movie, softening and finding the will to forgive. Other characters include a young girl who appears willing to stay in a relationship that clearly devalues her; her boyfriend who manhandles her; and two young men who’ve helped destroy a neighbor’s reputation. All but one learn their lesson in the end.

Violence

A boy takes a crowbar and tries to hit another with it during a fight. He also menaces his girlfriend and manhandles her. A local is suspected of arson.

Sex

More talk than action. One character discusses another’s conquests. Some passionate kissing, and a guy makes a pass at another even though he has a girlfriend.

Language

Some uses of "bitch," but much of the dialogue is only slightly salty: "pissed," "brat," "suck." Also, a couple uses of "God" as an exclamation.

Consumerism

Some signage for Mobil gas stations, restaurants.

Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

No drug use, though one scene shows teenagers drinking.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sweet-but-sad and fairly predictable coming-of-age story will likely appeal to hordes of Miley Cyrus’ young fans, but it's best for older tweens and teens thanks to the heavy topics of divorce, abusive relationships, and death. The romance (including some passionate kissing) will send fans' hearts a-flutter, and a tear-jerking storyline will leave them surprisingly moved. There’s little swearing ("bitch") and some sexual banter, but most everything’s pretty clean-cut.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Parent of a 8 and 11 year old Written byOhioParent June 18, 2010
I try to preview what my daughters watch. This movie was actually very good. I believe that this movie is very powerful in both its messages about love and de... Continue reading
Adult Written byNast101 June 7, 2015

Yes!

Okay skipping the fact that Miley's clothing in some scenes is a little bit skimpy, I would say that this is probably the best modern romance I have ever s... Continue reading
Teen, 14 years old Written bycatwiz97 April 3, 2010
LOVED IT!! (: I read the book, and it made me cry :'( but books have to be very powerful to make you feel so strongly that you cry, and the person that... Continue reading
Kid, 11 years old April 26, 2013

Amazing movie

When I first saw this movie, I loved it. It is an amazing movie. This movie can show people what it's like for other people sometimes. People will see the... Continue reading

What's the story?

Sent along with her younger brother to spend the summer on Tybee Island with their father (Greg Kinnear), Ronnie (Miley Cyrus) resists enjoying their time together. She’s been estranged from him since he divorced their mother (Kelly Preston), and refuses to forgive him for what she feels is abandonment. Post-high-school-graduation, life in general feels tenuous to Ronnie. She’s been accepted to Juilliard, the prestigious music conservatory, but she’s determined not to go, despite having been a musical prodigy. Her father was her teacher, and she can’t bear to sit at the piano again since it reminds Ronnie of him. But an unexpected romance with a popular local boy, Will (Liam Hemsworth), softens Ronnie’s heart, and paves the way for a reconciliation with her father. Sadly, it may prove too short.

Is it any good?

Miley Cyrus won’t be winning any acting awards anytime soon. Her delivery is rat-a-tat, and she operates in two modes -- pouting and not.  But despite rote dialogue and plot swerves one could spot a mile away, Cyrus manages to seem authentic, especially in scenes with Kinnear and Hemsworth, with whom she shares incredible chemistry.

It's their chemistry that rescues THE LAST SONG from disaster, actually -- Hemsworth has great charisma and good instincts -- and the gorgeously photographed locale helps too. Nicholas Sparks, of The Notebook fame, who wrote the screenplay, clearly knows how to eke out the tears from romance. (Cyrus' tween fan base will swoon.) But the movie aspires to be too many things -- an inspirational movie, a dark family drama, a study of class conflict -- that it isn't great at any of them. Plus, for a film starring beloved pop star Cyrus, with the word "song" in its title, and celebrating the joy of music, it has too-few moments of Ronnie and her father together at the piano. And that's a pity.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about Ronnie’s reaction to her parents’ divorce. Why does she hate her father so much? Why is she unable to forgive him? Is her reaction typical and/or understandable? Does her experience remind you of your experiences or your friends' experiences?

  • Tweens and teens: Do you see Miley Cyrus as a role model? Why or why not? Do you think celebrities make good role models? Do you have any real-life role models -- like family members, friends, or teachers? Do you real-life role models have more or less influence over your thoughts and decisions compared to celebs?

  • Is the film’s depiction of first (true) love realistic? How does it change Ronnie?

Movie details

Themes & Topics

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