Actors: Alan Powell, Ali Faulkner, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas
Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Widescreen, NTSC
Subtitles: English, Spanish, Chinese, French, Korean, Portuguese Brazilian, Thai
Number of discs: 1
Studio: Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
DVD Release Date: February 10, 2015
Run Time: 116 minutes
The Song is a faith-based film which tries a bit too hard to stay ‘middle-of-the-road,’ but by attempting to please everyone, first-time filmmaker Richard Ramsey has made a rather bland piece of entertainment. I would still take this over most Christian-made films like Fireproof, but there is still a ways to go before faith-based films are successfully integrated into mainstream. While far from perfect, films like When the Game Stands Tall, Moms’ Night Out and The Song are a step in the right direction; that direction being as far from Kurt Cameron and Sherwood Pictures as possible.
Though it is kept mostly subtle (with the exception of a few of the names), The Song is loosely adapted from the biblical story of King Solomon. Son of successful country rock star David King (wink, wink), Jed King (Alan Powell), is a banjo-playing aspiring country star without a fraction of his father’s success. When forced to take a small job playing a local vineyard festival, Jed meets the owner’s daughter, Rose (Ali Faulkner).
Despite being in their twenties, the two have a courtship that often involves Rose’s father joining them as a chaperone. One can imagine that even kissing is kept to a minimum, as to not provide temptation against purity. This segment would not have bothered me had the couple engaged in a healthy sex life once they were married, but Rose continues to force Jed to jump through hoops for moments of affection. The implication of this encounter is frustrating in both the depiction of Christian piousness equated with a sense of sexual repression and frigidity and the implications towards expectations of men in the Christian community.
Part of the difficulty relating to the demands of Rose comes from Faulkner’s trouble handling much of the material without falling into the pitfalls of melodrama. Surprisingly, it is musician Powell who manages to hold the film together. If only the beards that the make-up department put on his face were as believable as his performance. I was actually far more impressed with Powell’s ability to act than much of the music in the movie, which sounds like generic worship music rather than Country. This is also the type of film that has one good song that gets played far too many times in the lengthy 116-minute running-time.
The song from the title is one written for Rose, which leads to a successful career as a musician. The only downfall for Jed is that this means spending a majority of his time touring. When he does come home, Rose is too tired and demanding for any physical contact, so Jed eventually turns to temptation. When an attractive new violinist named Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas) joins his tour, Jed finds himself tempted with alcohol, drugs and sex. This leads to a faith-film favorite; the predictable third act redemption. While aspects of the film are not awful, there is little about The Song that is memorable either. Ramsey set out to make an inoffensive film, but at least it did it with a little more talent than the market is accustomed to.
The DVD special features include a commentary track with Ramsey, as well as four featurettes. There are some which are production-based, such as the featurette about the cast of the adaptation of the biblical text. Then there is the featurette with author Kyle Idleman discussing love, sex and marriage. Suddenly this film begins to feel a bit more like an attempt to replace the atrocious Fireproof as the Christian film about marital relations. The problem with Christian films discussing sex is their unwillingness to show the act. In The Song, Rose is unable to even say the word ‘sex.’
Entertainment Value: 6.5/10
Quality of Filmmaking: 4.5/10
Historical Significance: 4/10
Special Features: 7/10