'Joyful Noise' Shockya.com Movie Review, Written by: Karen Benardello
Director: Todd Graff (‘Bandslam’)
Starring: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer (‘Akeelah and the Bee’) and Jeremy Jordan (TV’s ‘Law & Order: Special Victims Unit’)
People don’t always know how to agree on running groups, but their determination to do what’s best for their community leads them to try to work together. This is the main motivating factor among the choir members, particularly the leaders, in the new musical comedy ‘Joyful Noise.’ The newly-appointed Divinity Church Choir director Vi Rose Hill clashes with the church’s largest beneficiary, G.G. Sparrow, over what to sing to win the Joyful Noise competition. But the two ultimately agree they have to do what’s best to lift the spirits of their singers and the church’s congregants.
‘Joyful Noise’ follows the struggles the small town of Pacashau, Georgia has fallen on since the downfall of the economy. After the surprising death of Bernard Sparrow (played by Kris Kristofferson), the director of the Divinity Church Choir, his wife, G.G. (portrayed by Dolly Parton), expects to become the new leader of the group. However, to G.G.’s shock, Vi Rose (played by Queen Latifah) is selected as the new director.
Vi Rose stubbornly tries to stick with the chorus’ traditional songs in order to win the National Joyful Noise Competition. But when G.G.’s rebellious grandson Randy (portrayed by Jeremy Jordan) moves in with his grandmother, he encourages the choir to sing more modern songs that will appeal to everyone. Combined with his pursuance of Vi Hill’s daughter, Olivia (played by Keke Palmer), Randy’s arrival causes even more friction between his grandmother and the newly-appointed choir director.
Writer-director Todd Graff, who is known for helming the musically-themed ‘Bandslam’ and has served as a back-up singer for such artists as James Taylor and Carly Simon, included a heart-warming message that music can unite everyone in ‘Joyful Noise.’ The filmmaker said while making the movie, he drew on his childhood memories of his mother conducting a musical group in their home. His memories realistically created Vi Hill and G.G.’s understated bond over their love of music and faith.
Despite the Vi Rose and G.G.’s contrasting approaches on how to run the choir and which music to sing, they still tried to overcome their differences to do what was best for the choir and their town. They knew that with the difficult economic hardships many Pacashau residents were facing, their faith in their church and community was boosted by their music.
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