First prize movie has grace and wit

Joyful Noise

DIRECTOR: Todd Graff

(Front l-r) DOLLY PARTON as G.G. Sparrow, KEKE PALMER as Olivia Hill and QUEEN LATIFAH as Vi Rose Hill in Alcon Entertainment's "JOYFUL NOISE," a Warner Bros. Pictures release.

CAST: Queen Latifah, Dolly Parton, Keke Palmer


RUNNING TIME: 118 minutes


Who would have thought teaming up Dolly Parton and Queen Latifah in the same movie would be such on-screen fun? The feisty women go head to head in this comedic, feel-good drama all in the name of the Divinity Church Choir.

Times are tough for the citizens of Pacashau, Georgia, and not just because the recession has shuttered most of the town’s businesses. The director of the Divinity Church Choir has died, making the group’s chances for top prize at the National Joyful Noise Competition look bleak.

To make matters worse, the choir finds itself divided when Vi Rose Hill (Latifah) is chosen over the choir director’s widow, GG Sparrow (Parton), to lead the group. Where Vi is a fan of old standards and traditional robes, GG favours modern routines with costumes that show off her well-rounded assets.

Because the subject is a gospel choir, director Todd Graff does a marvellous job of treating us to a number of well-arranged musical interludes that showcase some real talent. And who knew Latifah could sing so beautifully? The passion pours off the screen each and every time, regardless of whether the songs are Christian, pop, or country.

The plot, while predictable, is easily understood and inspiring. The film never wastes an opportunity to show how headstrong they are; Vi is a hard-working single mom, resistant to change, while GG can’t go five minutes without uttering a Southern proverb.

Though set in a church, |the “religious” moments are sprinkled about in palatable bites. And the dialogue feels more authentic than many recent inspirational movies.

With grace and humour, it manages to tackle serious topics like loss, social isolation, and the unforgiving. This is an all-star cast of talented young people with a witty twist and a great upbeat mood from start to finish.

Joyful Noise is funny and delivers a good, wholesome message. Even non-believers should find something melodious about it.

If you liked… Sister Act 2… you will enjoy this.