Box art for Joyful Noise

Joyful Noise

comedy, music & musicals, romance

Oscar® nominees Queen Latifah and Dolly Parton star in this funny and inspirational story of music, hope, love and renewal.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 12
2 out of 5
2 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
0 out of 5
3 out of 5
Positive messages
3 out of 5
Positive role models
4 out of 5
2 out of 5

Uplifting but cliched film has great songs, bland story.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that, overall, Joyful Noise is more wholesome than not, despite some swearing (including "s--t" and "bitch") and sexual content (kissing/making out; implied sex between adults). Set in a struggling Georgia town where the only thing giving residents hope is a church choir on the way to the regional sing-off, the movie also has some moderate conflict between choir members, a fist fight that leaves two teens bloody and bruised, and angry confrontations between a teenage girl yearning for independence and her mother, who wants to protect her. But the characters generally want the best for each other, and the movie's underlying uplifting messages are about faith and spirituality.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about Joyful Noise's messages. What do you think filmmakers want audiences to take away? How can you tell?
  • Are the characters (particularly the teens) believable? Do you think their decisions are relatable?
  • Talk about the relationship between Olivia and her mother. Why are they fighting? Is it possible they're both right?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

  • Tomatometer®

    reviews counted: 20
    see all Joyful Noise reviews
  • Audience


Top Critic Reviews

Rotten: It wants to be a charming, down-home good time, but it struggles to hit the right notes.

- Adam Graham, Detroit News, Friday, January 13, 2012

Rotten: "Joyful Noise" follows the book for sprightly musicals and small-town quirk.

- Amy Biancolli, San Francisco Chronicle, Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rotten: It's hard to enjoy the movie's charms when writer-director Todd Graff keeps trying to shove them down your throat.

- Ben Sachs, Chicago Reader, Thursday, January 12, 2012

Audience Reviews

0 star

God loves bad movies. Kris Kristofferson, who briefly co-stars in this movie, had the right idea of dying within the first minute of "Joyful Noise". Witten and directed with kid-gloves by Todd Graff (Bandslam) and starring what turned out to be one of the most annoying female duos in recent movie history in Queen Latifah (Chicago) and Dolly Parton (Nine to Five, Steel Magnolias), "Joyful Noise" is a film where I could attempt to explain how truly bad the acting was, or how hardly-there the script was or how corny and ill-advised this entire concept was to begin with, but rather than tell you (right away) I will show you, by giving you a sample line of dialogue (verbatim) used during the film, that was so corny, if doesn't make you want to steer clear of "Joyful Noise", there is not much more I (as a film critic) can do for you. The Set-up: So Dolly Parton plays this woman in a gospel choir named G. G. Sparrow who doesn't really like Queen Latifah's angry black woman character by the name of Vi Rose Hill. Suffice to say, they fight a lot. During one of their countless fights Vi Rose and G.G. embark on this cringe inducing back and forth: "G.G. Sparrow: Well, I am who I am. Vi Rose: Well, maybe you were...five procedures ago! G.G. Sparrow: Who cares if I've have a few little nips and tucks? God didn't make plastic surgeons so they could starve!" And with dialogue like that who needs dialogue. Ok, so I won't hold it against you if that last bit has caused you to not want to read further (or killed reading for you indefinitely). But if you wish to read on, the rest of this review will be more of the same I assure you. Synopsis: In a seemingly small Southern town that lives and dies not with their wavering employment rates or the fact that family owned businesses are going out of business left and right, but with how many national church choir championships they accumulate, the story follows G.G. Sparrow after the death of her husband (played by Kristofferson) and Vi Rose Hill as they jockey for position of the lead in their church choir. There is also a side story which involves Vi Rose's teenage daughter and G.G.'s hokey to the extreme nephew, in a Disney Channel-esque forbidden love story. Ok, so even though "Joyful Noise" is nothing but (harmless) fluff (or the film equivalent of a purity ring) filled with enough poorly written God-talk to give Tyler Perry a run for his money, how can anyone take the wholesome /overall "holy message" this film is attempting to put forth seriously when Parton is standing there looking like the kid from "Mask". Seriously though, with a script filled with horrible transitions, scene after scene of corny southern metaphors and inexplicably nonsensical and awkwardly unfunny running gags (one including a female member of the choir who develops an unsavory reputation after having slept with a man and the man promptly dying) everything about "Joyful Noise" (excluding the singing, which is actually quite good, aside from a few ridiculous songs) is God-awful. Final Thought: If you want to see small children speaking in tongues in silly and overblown fashion for the Lord, witness a Jesus is my homie rendition of Usher's hit song "Yeah" or see Dolly Parton who, with the help of some radical plastic surgery, has turned herself into a Muppet of a woman, then "Joyful Noise" is the movie you have been waiting for! And even if the only reason you want to see "Joyful Noise" is because you are a huge Dolly Parton fan, "Joyful Noise" may do nothing more than give you a woeful headache, not from the singing mind you, but because of the aforementioned asinine storyline and cringe inducting acting (excluding Latifah, who actually has a decent performance) that seems to allow this joyless film to overstay its welcome and then some. This is a Hallmark Channel movie at best, which may be the worst thing one could say about a movie. Written by Markus Robinson, Edited by Nicole I. Ashland Please visit my page on and leave any comments you have about this or any review. The more hits I get the better. Thank you. Follow me on Twitter @moviesmarkus

- ghostdog86, Monday, January 23, 2012

2 stars

I'd like to say the premise is something new, but I feel I've somehow seen it before. Not much about it seems original, and maybe that's because it's a bit of a concert behind-the-scenes movie, with gospel music. It's a loose analogy, I'm aware, but you could easily call it This Is Gospel Tap. Of course, the religion-oriented twist would allow the story only mild ridicule and would be more targeted at those who much prefer visiting churches than rock concerts. G.G. Sparrow (Dolly Parton) is a sassy, sprightly, southern woman, the grandmother of a teenager named Randy (Jeremy Jordan). At church, she participates in a competitive choir and rivals massively with the director, Vi Rose Hill (Queen Latifah), the underappreciated mother of perky teen Olivia (Keke Palmer)-also a participant in her mother's choir-and Asperger's-suffering Walter (Dexter Darden)-who blames his disability on God and thus refuses to listen to gospel music or participate in church. During that competition, Olivia finds herself hopelessly falling in love with Randy, as he befriends Walter and teaches him the piano. reeeaaad iiiit aaaall aaaat

- spielberg00, Saturday, July 21, 2012

1 star

The past has offered very similar films like this, and "Dream Girls" is probably as decent as they're going to get. With horrible films like the "Hairspray" remake and "Fame", I wasn't expecting much from this. The film introduces the typical main character. A young girl with a hidden talent. In this case, singing. I want to take this time to talk about the music industry. While all music has been essentially ruined by auto-tune and ridiculous lyrics, this film tries to offer up a different kind of music that requires you to actually use your voice instead of rely on Soundtrack Pro all the time. But, then again, if this kind of music isn't your taste, you won't like the film. I don't know who the film was directed towards, but I'm just going to say what I think. African-American teenagers. Come one, you know I'm right! I can't imagine an Asian liking this. I mean, I'm Asian and my taste in music is more instrumental. The film is just so cliched that all the plot points just seem staged. I guess America likes watching fresh minds achieve greatness, but really; do we actually need another singer? I mean, all music sounds the same these days anyway, so what's the point? The fact that these people call themselves, "artists" is just sickening. Art has nothing to do with auto-tune and sound software and talking along with a beat. Art is beyond all that, and if conveyed correctly, you can make something good and enthralling. But this? This is just a bunch of shlock. The characters are stale, the film is butchered with corny dialogue, and is full of music-industry stereotypes. "I'm gonna give this kid her big shot" kind of thing. Overall, a bad movie.

- scracasim, Saturday, January 21, 2012