A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that The One I Wrote for You is a music-filled family drama about a family man taking the chance to fulfill his dreams by competing in a songwriting competition reality show. There's some language ("damn," "hell," "ass," and "crap") and a character drinks a beer and holds a six-pack. There are also a few kisses between a married couple and a conversation where an adult explains to a child that groupies are "girls who like to kiss musicians." There are also a lot of references to popular shows and social media (Twitter, Facebook, American Idol). Parents will appreciate the main message that you don't need to compromise your integrity or change who you are to be successful and follow your dreams.
What's the story?
Ben (Cheyenne Jackson) didn't plan on being a barista, but after failing to make it as a songwriter, he's stuck managing a local coffee shop to support his family. Unbeknownst to him, Ben's 10-year-old daughter, Gracie (Avi Lake), enters him on the reality show The Song. After his former manager Mickey's (Kevin Pollak) urging, Ben enters the competition and, to his surprise, wins the first round. But as the competition gets fiercer, Ben has to decide if he'll do whatever it takes to make it or if he'll stay true to himself and risk losing his dream once again.
Is it any good?
It's schmaltzy, a bit heavy-handed, and very formulaic, but there's just enough heart and decent-enough acting to make this an OK family film. THE ONE I WROTE FOR YOU isn't going to win any awards (for the movie or its music), but it manages to be fairly entertaining even while you're cringing. Some of the faux-pop music is pretty terrible and not very believable, but a few of the tunes aren't half-bad. And parents will love that the reality of reality shows is shown to be more tedious than glamorous.
Music lovers looking for a wholesome family film will probably enjoy the likable characters and positive messages. And young fans of shows like The Voice and American Idol will get a kick out of imagining what it would really be like to compete in a reality show.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about reality shows such as American Idol and The Voice. Why are they so popular? What's so appealing about them?
Do you think you need to change who you are to be popular? Is being popular important enough to have to change who you are? Why, or why not?
Did you like the music in the movie? Do you think the songs on the reality show sound like real pop songs? Why, or why not?
For kids who love music
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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.