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 Sound of Music Live! is the telecast of the original film, The Sound of Music, featuring Carrie Underwood in the role of Maria with a heavy focus on the famous songs of the original. There is very little direct discussion of the realities of World War II and no explicit discussion of Nazi atrocities. The final moments of the film contain some peril as the family makes their escape and are tracked by soldiers, one of whom briefly pulls a gun on the family. There is a brief subplot of romance with a 16-year-old daughter but nothing graphic.
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What's the story?
Maria (Carrie Underwood) has just been hired as a governess to the seven children of a strict widower, Captain von Trapp (Stephen Moyer). As she works to win them over with love, warmth, and musical training, she begins to fall for von Trapp. Meanwhile, von Trapp is practically engaged to Frau Schrader (Laura Benanti), and all anticipate their fates as World War II encroaches upon Austria, forcing them to make big decisions about their lives and political leanings.
Is it any good?
THE SOUND OF MUSIC LIVE! couldn't possibly live up to the magnificence of The Sound of Music, and it doesn't. This is a film version of a live telecast, and though Carrie Underwood is a magnificent singer, her acting falls a bit flat, and her chemistry with Captain von Trapp is not particularly magical. That said, the setting, songs, and spirit of the original are all here, as are commendable performances from the children, baroness, and some of the nuns. And for families who've worn out viewings of the original or are simply interested in a newer take, there's plenty to entertain children and adults, even if it's only to pick over the differences and various missteps or for the many moments when songs like "Climb Ev'ry Mountain" and "My Favorite Things" come off spectacularly. It's also a very innocuous entry point to discussion of Nazis and World War II, which are introduced here but not enough to frighten too much or mislead. Beyond this, there are countless positive messages represented in the human struggle for stability and love that even a few missteps can't dampen.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how this version compares to the original film. How are they the same? How are they different?
Why did some people want to stay in their country while others wanted to leave? How did they make their decision?
Which is your favorite song in the film, and why?
- On DVD or streaming: December 17, 2013
- Cast: Stephen Moyer, Laura Benanti, Audra McDonald, Carrie Underwood
- Directors: Rob Ashford, Beth McCarthy-Miller
- Studio: Universal Studios
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: Adventures, Book Characters, Great Girl Role Models, History, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 135 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
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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.