Film Review: Joyful Noise

With Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton heading up the cast of a film which revolves around a choir competition, viewers should have a good idea of what to expect. Joyful Noise offers entertainment one would anticipate, although there is some unevenness.

Wealthy G.G. Sparrow is surprised with the appointment of Vi Rose Hill as the new choir director. Hoping to win a national competition, the two women clash over the direction the choir is taking. Things get more complicated with the arrival of G.G’s grandson Randy…

Joyful Noise primarily concerns itself with a church choir hoping to win a competition as the underdogs. However there are numerous strands that feature in addition to this overarching narrative. While the plot would have been rather weak without embellishment, there is a lot going on in the film. As well as the strained relationship between G.G. and Vi Rose, there is the blooming romance between Randy and Olivia. In addition to this, there are strands occupied by the recession, the impact of a disability, marriage and relationship problems, bereavement and a tumultuous mother-daughter relationship. All in all, therefore, there are a lot of different dynamics at play.

Due to the sheer amount of strands at play, some never feel fully developed or satisfactorily resolved. In spite of this, Joyful Noise is still an enjoyable film to watch. The dialogue is priceless at times, feeling quite authentically of its Georgia setting. The songs featured in the film are also good, although some more gospel would have been welcome given that it is a church choir competition.

Dolly Parton brings her regular charm as G.G. Sparrow. It is welcome that the film makes light of Parton’s cosmetic surgery. Queen Latifah delivers a powerful performance as Vi Rose. Keke Palmer and Jeremy Jordan are suitably cast as Olivia and Randy.

The narrative of Todd Graff’s film could have been a lot tighter. Nevertheless, Joyful Noise should leave viewers with a smile on their face. The film will not appeal to everyone, but should entertain those who give it a go.