By Rachel Tjahjadi
With a cast led by Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton, one thing you can be sure of is the fact that there won’t be a shortage of diva star power in this new musical film by Todd Graff (Bandslam).
When the choir director of the Divinity Church Choir in Georgia, the husband of G. G. Sparrow (Parton) suddenly passes away, Vi Rose Hill (Latifah) is appointed in his place.
Tension inevitably arises as Sparrow, who feels looked over for the position, challenges Hill’s leadership and direction. Being the choir’s benefactor, she is more than capable of throwing her weight around. She wants the choir to get hip, but Hill wants to stick to the tried-and-true. What’s more, driving the wedge deeper is Sparrow’s grandson Randy (Jeremy Jackson) who has a eye on Hill’s pretty daughter Olivia (Keke Palmer).
To complicate matters, almost every member of the choir is battling his and her own problems.
The stakes are high as the choir prepares to compete in the regional finals of the Joyful Noise competition. They have great potential but risk their chance of being in the top spot if they don’t all get their act together.
Joyful Noise explores a gamut of issues like marital problems, the sudden loss of loved ones, economic downturn and teenage love, but not any one with much depth. This is more a feel-good movie with a simple plot that showcases the inspirational musical numbers, than a serious examination of human nature.
Still, its moral values and feel-good factor are not lost on the audience: have faith, never give up, and always make a joyful noise unto God—sort of a sanctified movie version of Glee, if you like.