Inspired by The Song of Solomon, but Feels More Like Ecclesiastes
- Susan Ellingburg Crosswalk.com Contributing Writer
- 2014 26 Sep
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2015
Theatrical Release Date: September 26, 2014
Rating: PG-13 for thematic elements including some substance abuse, smoking and rude references
Genre: Drama, Music, Romance
Run Time: 116 minutes
Director: Richard Ramsey
Cast: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas
The sins of the father are visited on the son in this modern parable inspired by the Old Testament. Struggling young singer-songwriter Jed King (Alan Powell), offspring of a famous ‘bad boy’ rock star, is having trouble finding his voice. He’s determined to be the opposite of his hard-living father, but that’s easier said than done. At a vineyard’s harvest festival—a last-ditch booking his agent arranged out of pity—Jed meets the vineyard owner’s daughter, Rose (Ali Faulkner)... and suddenly finds inspiration.
True love is soon followed by a sweet courtship and heartfelt vows. On their honeymoon Jed unveils a new song to his beloved, and later to his agent, and before you know it, to the rest of the world. It’s the big break Jed had been searching for and in no time he’s a star—with the grueling touring schedule, demands on his time, and star-struck groupies that go along with it.
It’s not exactly a recipe for a successful marriage, especially when Rose refuses to go on the road, insisting she needs to stay home to care for family and vineyard. Bless Jed’s heart, he does his best to avoid temptation, but then the sultry Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas) joins the tour as his opening act. The girl knows her way around a fiddle . . . and a man.
While the plot line is focused on Jed, the women in his life outshine our hero. Take Rose: it would have been easy to make her a stereotypical “good” girl, but Faulkner’s heroine is a more realistic kind of wholesome. Balancing Rose’s sweetness, Nicol-Thomas is a delight as the temptress. Depraved as she is, Shelby has a kind of innocent charm about her. You can’t help but like her, even as she works her wiles to destroy Jed and Rose’s marriage. She’s so much more interesting than a bad-to-the-bone villain would have been. Unfortunately, Powell is completely overshadowed by his female co-stars. He looks and sounds good but his emotions never quite reach his eyes.
Fortunately for a movie with “song” in the title, the music is quite good. No wonder Jed becomes a star. I’d go to his concert, especially if Shelby was also on the bill. Once she showed up Jed’s morals may have taken a hit but his music certainly improved.
For a story that claims to be “based on the Song of Solomon” they certainly quote Ecclesiastes a lot. Given the content of much of the “Song of Songs” that’s probably just as well; imagine the MPAA rating needed for a strict video interpretation of that. Ecclesiastes is gritty enough; at intervals a voiceover intones the various kinds of bad behavior listed in the writer’s search to find “what is good” while the activities themselves are played out on the big screen. It feels a bit like the Scripture is just an excuse to make a movie about bad behavior.
When Jed finally makes the decision to leave his life behind the actual moment of decision is vague and poorly timed and the ‘big moment’ seems like too little, too late. The story arc is like personal testimonies that spend 99% of the time on the person’s impressive list of sins and only 1% on redemption. This testimony eventually has a moral but far too much of time is spent on things that are, as the Teacher in Ecclesiastes concluded, "meaningless, a chasing after the wind."
Bottom line: The Song may not make it to the top of the charts but it is (loosely) inspired by Scripture, upholds sexual purity and the sanctity of marriage, and contains some nice performances and catchy music. It might be an excellent conversation starter for date night.
CAUTIONS (may contain spoilers):
- Drugs/Alcohol: Considerable amounts of substance abuse of all kinds. Rose’s family owns a vineyard, so wine is present in many scenes.
- Language/Profanity: Mostly insults aimed at females: who**, skank
- Sex/Nudity: A lot of conversation about sex, couples (both married and not) shown after obviously having done the deed; female strips (not completely) on stage; woman performs in a suggestive manner and seduces a fellow performer on stage. They do not consummate the relationship in front of the audience, but it’s obvious they’re going to do so.
- Violent/Frightening/Intense: Many arguments, a slap, a male/female fight, and a downright brawl. Recurring nightmare about being stabbed. Dead animal shown hanging ready to be butchered.
- Spiritual Themes: It definitely does makes a case for staying true to one’s marriage and avoiding adultery, showing clearly what a slippery slope that can be.
Publication date: September 26, 2014