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Review: “The Song”

Review: “The Song”

 CREDITS: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas. City on a Hill Productions. Faith-based musical drama. Written & directed by Richard Ramsey. 9/26/14

 FILM SYNOPSIS: Alan Powell, son of Fort Myers pastor Richard Powell, is receiving rave reviews for his performance  as Jed King in The Song. Already no stranger to success, Alan is in the Christian band “Anthem Lights”—an Internet  sensation with YouTube videos viewed more than 30 million times. But this was his first acting role and, according to  director Richie Ramsey, he pulls off a dynamic range. A music-driven romantic drama, The Song shows Jed King’s  search for things we all long for: significance and meaning.

The film is produced by Kyle Idleman, pastor of Southeast Christian Church and City on a Hill. Kyle believes it’s time to “take back” the conversation on love, sex, and marriage from the worldly way they’re usually treated and instead “awaken love” the way God intended. A full line of resources is available to help accomplish the film’s goal, which is to strengthen marriage.

REVIEW: The updating of biblical parables takes a savvy touch by anyone attempting to transfer them to the motion picture screen. Few know how to present the similarities between the Bible tales and the modern settings without beating us over the head with their themes. After seeing countless renditions of the prodigal son’s hard knocks/life lessons treated with all the subtlety of a Joe Biden speech, I was leery of a film that modernized the life of King David and his son, Solomon. I was pleasantly surprised. The last two-thirds became as good a drama as any found in the best of the sword-and-sandal epics.

I say the last two-thirds as it took me that long to get over my four-day-growth-of-beard prejudice. Once the lead is introduced, he is shown with a four-day growth, which then settles into a five-day growth and stays there scene after scene, even in flashbacks. The guy doesn’t even shave for his wedding. Whenever I see facial stubble, I feel it to be an affectation, usually saying more about the actor than the part he’s playing. In my mind’s eye, I see that actor each morning having his wannabe beard trimmed by the makeup man while the actor goes over his lines. It takes me out of the scene.

Finally, as the story progresses, so does the beard. By film’s end, he resembles Joaquin Phoenix on a bender. But by this time I have overcome my beard-lite bigotry and turned a deaf ear to this guy’s singing abilities. I have to ask, can anybody in this generation color a note instead of just yell it?

Today’s singers make up for lack of tone by blasting. But that’s neither here nor there since this America’s Got Talent generation seems mesmerized by those who can blast and yodel. I guess they’d be bored with Nat King Cole or Ella Fitzgerald. To each his own.

What saves this film endeavor is the prowess of writer/director, Richard Ramsey. The filmmaker adeptly transfers Solomon’s assertions about what really matters in life, found in Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon. Mr. Ramsey presents the sanctity of marriage both intellectually and emotionally, and never overwhelms the story with the underlining testimony. His cast reaches all the right notes (so to speak) and the crew’s technical contributions help energize the proceedings.

A moving, entertaining ode to marriage, The Song is one of the best films of the year.

Distributor: City on a Hill Productions

PG-13 (infidelity leads to the death of one man, who is seen having committed suicide by hanging; adultery is carefully implied rather than exploited; to show a lifestyle, we see those involved in the music industry living to excess, including the abuse of alcohol and drugs). Running Time: 116 min.

Intended Audience: Older teens and up

By: Ken Raney and Phil Boatwright

Film and DVD Reviews by Phil Boatwright: Besides providing a monthly column for Baptist Press, Phil Boatwright reviews films for He also is a regular contributor to “The World and Everything In it,” a weekly radio program from WORLD News Group, which also publishes WORLD Magazine.

For more movie reviews, as well as news, reviews, and interviews on all forms of entertainment media from a Christian perspective, visit Ken Raney at

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