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 Song is a faith-based drama about a successful musician with a loving wife and child at home who finds himself tempted by another woman while on a months-long tour. Both his marriage and his faith are tested. There's a good deal of drinking, and some characters pop pills, often facilitating poor choices. There's a little bit of language (including "s--t" and "whore"), some characters smoke cigarettes, and a married couple has some intense arguments, about honesty, fidelity, and sex -- themes that may not particularly resonate with younger viewers.
- Parents say
- Kids say
What's the story?
Jed King (Alan Powell) is country music royalty, the son of a beloved star who's managed to make it big on his own. He has a loving wife, April (Ali Faulkner), and a darling son, but he has to leave them at home for months at a time when he heads out on tour. The separation takes its toll, and as April becomes increasingly upset about the time he spends away, Jed finds himself more and more tempted by the sultry lead singer, Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas), for the opening act of his show.
Is it any good?
Faulkner's acting is probably the brightest spot in this somewhat dull film. When April's life falls to pieces, Faulkner comes alive, serving up her character's pain with raw emotion. If only the film's script were as strong, without going over the top. But unfortunately it does -- go over the top, that is -- from lighting to dialogue to plot to the far-too-dramatic voice-over. The blonde Faulkner is constantly bathed in a white light, as if her role as the faithful wife and woman wasn't clue enough. Meanwhile, her husband's temptress is a brunette who's dressed mostly in black and rendered in shadowed lighting. Shelby also drinks, wears skimpy clothing, and does every stereotypically "bad" thing you'd expect; she's practically a pencil-drawing caricature. And then there's Jed, who, as he slides deeper into his misery, grows a beard beyond recognition because, yes, he's hiding something (surprise -- the facial hair disappears once things start to look up).
Movies about faith -- and their audiences -- deserve more than broad-strokes tales like this one. THE SONG seems like it has potential, but it winds up dogmatic and predictable. Both evil and good are presented cartoonishly. And though the music's catchy and compelling (and Powell and Nicol-Thomas have beautiful voices), they're not entirely memorable. Not even the titular song.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about The Song's messages. What audience are they designed to appeal to? How can you tell? Do you need to share the movie's convictions to appreciate its story?
Why does Jed feel obligated to spend so much time on tour? How do his views on money and material possessions change during the film? Why does he feel tempted by Shelby, and how does he feel later about the decision he makes?
How does the film present religion and its place in Jed's life?
- In theaters: September 26, 2014
- On DVD or streaming: February 10, 2015
- Cast: Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner
- Director: Richard Ramsey
- Studio: Samuel Goldwyn Company
- Genre: Drama
- Topics: Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 114 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements including some substance abuse, smoking and rude references
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