Box art for Music of the Heart

Music of the Heart

  • Rated PG
  • HD and SD formats available

Two-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep (It's Complicated) stars with Angela Bassett (Notorious) in a heartwarming, acclaimed true story of how one woman's musical gift affected those who least expected it.

Rotten Tomatoes® scores

  • Critic Score
  • Audience Score

common sense

ON for kids age 10
Positive messages
4 out of 5
Positive role models
3 out of 5
2 out of 5
1 out of 5
2 out of 5
0 out of 5
Drinking, drugs, & smoking
1 out of 5

Touching story about a determined teacher has mature themes.

what parents need to know

Parents need to know that Music of the Heart is based on the true story of a teacher's struggle to teach violin to inner city kids in Harlem. There are some heavy themes, such as poverty, divorce, a father abandoning his wife and sons to be with another woman, and the discussion (but not depiction) of violence or its consequences, such as the death of a child from a drive-by shooting, and a family going into hiding because of the father's abuse. There is some mild profanity ("bitch" and "hell"). The film is a positive, uplifting look at the positive role of music in the lives of disadvantaged kids, but heavier themes and long run time (two hours) make it best for older kids.

what families can talk about

  • Families can talk about passion. What are you passionate about? How did the teacher's passion in the film help her achieve her goals?
  • Community plays an important role in the success of the teacher's music program. How did she gather their support? What did it take for her to make her community see how important learning violin was?
  • The film has a big message about not giving up. Why did so many of the kids want to give up learning violin? What do you think made them stick with it? Have you ever wanted to give up on something? Did you? Why or why not? What can you do when you feel like giving up on something difficult?

movie reviews from Rotten Tomatoes®

Top Critic Reviews


- Beth Jones, Roanoke Times (Virginia), Thursday, June 24, 2010

Fresh: All other credits are pro, with a special nod to Peter Deming's subtly nuanced camerawork.

- David Stratton, Variety, Saturday, January 1, 2000

Fresh: Meryl dominates the proceedings. She simply disappears into the role, and the movie, for all its educational impulses, becomes about watching her do it.

- Derek Adams, Time Out, Saturday, June 24, 2006

Audience Reviews

3 stars

Inspiring true story with good acting and a compelling narrative. A nice change of pace from Wes Craven.

- jjnxn, Monday, October 18, 2010

3 stars

it wasn't bad, despite the fact how much i despise the cliched inner city kids can do sports/be intelligent/sing/spell/play an instrument despite GREAT ODDS and there's always a random kid dying or doing drugs or something. and meryl streep is great at playing angry women.

- jennifxu, Friday, June 22, 2007

4 stars

Very well done. The music is beautiful.

- dreamfaeries, Tuesday, November 7, 2006