Movie Review: The Song
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The Song is a beautiful love story based upon the writings of Solomon in his Song of Songs, which consists of a mosaic of love poems. It is filled with music, romance, and uplifting biblical verses. At the same time, it exposes us to the evil and ugliness of sin and its adverse effects on both the sinner and his relationship with God, as well as God’s children. The Song is a film that depicts the power of God’s passionate love for us and our love for one another, as well as the graces that accompany repentance, which offer forgiveness, healing, and redemption.
As the movie opens, we are taken via a TV screen to a flashback of a country-western band performing on stage in 1981 Nashville, which transports us to the live performance. After their gig, the group is partying with heavy drinking. The star of the band, David King, awakens on the couch of someone’s home, surrounded by bottles and sleeping bodies, stretched out on both the furniture and the floor. He seeks out a married woman swimming in a pool outdoors and has an adulterous affair with her (not shown). Consequently, she becomes pregnant, and has an abortion (He accompanies her to the abortion clinic). Her husband, who learns of the affair and the abortion, ends up hanging himself. David repents of his sins and God shows him mercy, giving him both a wife and a son, Jed King, who is also musically gifted. Jed learns to hone his musical skills with help from his father. Unfortunately, David dies an early death from a terminal illness.
Jed aspires to follow in his father’s footsteps as a musician, but simply repeats what his father has done, instead of carving out his own niche in the musical world. In 2006, at a restaurant in his hometown of Louisville Kentucky, he meets with his manager, who tells him, “People come to see you for one reason – your dad.” He informs Jed that he needs to find his heart and his own inspiration before he can be accepted in the music business. He sets him up with a gig to perform at a fall wine festival. Jed initially rejects the gig, but changes his mind.
At the festival, he meets Rose Jordan, the daughter of the farmer who owns the vineyard and the land where the festival is held. Rose is a sweet, innocent, and beautiful young woman, who was “dumped” by a self-centered, ill-mannered young man named Eddie, who shows up at the festival with a date, Kristin, obviously determined to make Rose jealous. Later, in a private conversation with Jed, Rose apologizes for Eddie’s behavior and confides that the reason Eddie dumped her is because she refused to sleep with him. They both agree that Eddie is a “jerk.” When Jed gets up on stage, he decides to be creative and composes an impromptu and amusing song about Rose and Eddie, which puts him in his place. The crowd loves it and laughs heartily, while Eddie and his date quickly depart.
Jed is smitten with Rose and meets with her father to ask his permission to date his daughter. Papa Jordan, however, is familiar with David King’s reputation and how he sang about God, yet lived an immoral lifestyle. He tells Jed that he loves his daughter and has tried to protect her from men like her father. In the end, he gives Jed permission to date Rose. They quickly fall in love and get married in a beautiful ceremony. During their honeymoon, Jed writes a song for Rose, which he writes from the heart.
Flash forward five years and we see Eddie and his band onstage performing at a concert in Louisville. He is a success, but this is only the beginning of his stardom. Enter Shelby Bale, the new opener for his act. She approaches him backstage and doesn’t tell him who she is, but behaves as if she is infatuated with him. He tells her that he doesn’t sleep with groupies and asks her to leave. His manager later reveals her identity to Jed. He is not particularly pleased about having her as an opening act, but goes along with it, believing that it will attract more fans and bring in more money.
Back at the home front, Jed returns after spending months away from home. He brings Rose flowers and justifies his time away from her and his son by explaining that he brings hope and God to others through his music. She complains, telling him, “It feels like you don’t come home for me anymore.” An argument ensues. Rose is also worried about her father, who has been in poor health. Their differences result in them sleeping apart from one another.
When he returns on a new concert tour, Shelby comes out on stage with her violin and begins singing duets with him. The crowd goes wild and his manager is awestruck. From then on, they join forces to bring in more fans and even more money.
On his next visit home (He practically lives on the road now.), Jed asks Rose to join him on the road, but she refuses, mentioning her maternal responsibilities. When he returns to his tour, Shelby continues to tempt and seduce him, encouraging him to do whatever he wants and not feel guilty about it. She leads him into living a life of decadence. We see him declining quickly into a life of sin. We are shown the ugliness of sin in the form of: pride, lust, sloth, gluttony, greed, envy, and anger. Life becomes meaningless to him. But there is much more to the film, which I hope you will see.
There are many valuable lessons the viewer can learn from watching the film – what to do and what not to do in a marriage. The actors are very natural and believable. They behave as many of us would in stressful situations. Like us, they sometimes choose the easy way out. However, they also show us the meaning of true love – which involves sacrifice and self-giving love. Unfortunately, too many couples want to end their marriages when they encounter problems. This is an excellent film for demonstrating the power of authentic love in a marriage. It also sends a powerful message to those caught up in the consumerism and relativism of our culture, without being preachy. The passages from the Song of Songs narrating the story in the background add credibility to the script and create a subtle beauty. More importantly, they evidence man’s longing for God in his life to give it meaning and purpose. This is an uplifting and inspiring must-see movie that will open your heart to love and life.
~ copyright Jean M. Heimann, September 2014