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Joyful Noise: Movie Review

Updated on January 14, 2012

A Joyful Movie

Talk about a “feel good” movie. Joyful Noise, starring Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan, makes the audience want to sing and dance as they leave the theater when the movie ends. It’s the kind of movie that makes the audience just automatically clap as the last number ends. Joyful Noise, directed by Todd Graff, is definitely worth going to see!

The Plot

The movie’s plot centers around the annual choir competition, which Pacashau's Sacred Divinity Church choir always loses at regionals to a more polished group led by gospel great, Kirk Franklin. This year’s competition means much for the town of Pacashua, GA since the economy has hit its residents extremely hard and spirits are at rock bottom. For the first time, the choir does get past regionals and are set to go to the finals in LA only to have the rug pulled out from beneath them by the pastor who does not like the upbeat tunes and the rather street-wise choreography introduced by Dolly Parton’s happy-go-lucky grandson who shows up after his mother puts him out of her house. He becomes the catalyst for several subplots and conflicts. The most endearing subplot deals with Queen Latifah’s teen-aged son (excellently played by Dexter Darden) who suffers from Asberger’s Syndrome. Jeremy Jordan’s character teaches him piano and helps him begin to come out of his one-dimensional shell.

The Conflicts

Joyful Noise has a little something for everyone by way of conflict. There’s mother-daughter conflict (Queen Latifah vs Keke), small town neighbor conflict (Queen Latifah-Dolly), choir-pastor conflict (Dolly-Courtney B. Vance), boy-girl-boy conflict (Keke- Jeremy-Paul Woolfolk), husband-wife (Queen Latifah and Jesse L. Martin) and human-God conflict (two characters question God’s good will). The movie also deals a little with grief since Dolly Parton's husband, the former choir director, played by Kris Kristofferson, dies in the opening scene. There's a beautiful scene near the end where Dolly and Jeremy sing the duet that the couple used to sing and dance to, and she envisions them dancing on the front lawn again. The final conflict occurs at the choir competition where Pacashau's Sacred Divinity finds itself going head to head against an unbelieveably talented children's choir. That's one of my favorite scenes in the movie.

The Music

The vehicle that moves the movie forward is the music. In case you didn’t know, Dolly Parton can still sing! Audiences see Queen Latifah in a whole new light as she sings—not raps—the upbeat spirit-filled tunes and the one soft soul-filled song that asks Jesus to “Fix me.” The big surprise of the movie is Keke Palmer who we’ve seen on the big screen since she was nine, but had never heard sing before. She and Jeremy Jordan rip it up on stage together.

Joyful Noise just opened today, January 13, 2012, to positive reviews. I’m just adding mine to the mix. Go see it; you won’t be sorry.


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      G.boy 5 years ago

      Guys please tell me the name of the song the children choir performed in the final. PLEASE???

    • Lady_E profile image

      Elena 6 years ago from London, UK

      Oh... I can't wait for this to hit the UK. I like Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton. I will definitely see this or buy the DVD.

      Thanks for a brilliant Review. :)

    • profile image

      Don Selvidge 6 years ago

      Fantastic and inspiring film.

    • pmccray profile image

      pmccray 6 years ago from Utah

      I can't wait to see this movie. Thanks for sharing I love feel good movies, we could use a lot more these days.

    • everymom profile image

      Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      Thanks for a great review! I'm with you: people should definitely make the effort to see this one at the theater! Being a single mom of a pre-teen girl, I really appreciated Queen Latifah's character's response to her daughter's teenage rant (when they are at a hotel)! LOL...go see it to hear it as only Queen Latifah in character can deliver it!

    • everymom profile image

      Anahi Pari-di-Monriva 6 years ago from Massachusetts

      I just saw this movie tonight and loved it! I will read your take on it tomorrow!

    • profile image

      Carey Dove-Brown 6 years ago

      Now I have to make sure I see this movie...Thanks Jackie

    • DonnaCSmith profile image

      Donna Campbell Smith 6 years ago from Central North Carolina

      I sure wish I could have gone with you today. It sounds like I missed a good one!