Releasing nationwide on September 26, 2014, The Song has a hard-hitting moral message, but it doesn’t sacrifice art or storytelling.
The movie tells the story of aspiring musician Jed King, played by Alan Powell (a member of the Christian band Anthem Lights), who can’t escape from the shadow of his dead father’s musical success. His own music career is going nowhere until he meets Rose Jordan (Ali Faulkner) while playing a gig at her father’s winery in Louisville, Kentucky. What ensues is one of the most pure and touching cinematic romances that I have seen in a long time. It is the consummation of their wedding that inspires Jed (resembling a more handsome, younger version of Joaquin Phoenix ) to write a love song about Rose, which propels him to stardom.
The Song is filled with beauty—breathtaking scenery, attractive actors, and a captivating soundtrack that is Mumford & Sons-esque—but it is the voiceover of Jed King quoting from The Song of Solomon and Ecclesiastes about the meaning of life that adds another layer of depth and elevates this movie to art.
In a early scene, we hear Jed loosely quote, “What will be, will be again; what has been done will be done again; there is nothing new under the sun.” This is foreshadowing that Jed will make the same mistakes as his father—succumbing to the the trappings of fame: infidelity and drug use.
Watching The Song, the audience knows from the start that Jed will fall, and it is painful to watch. We don’t want him to lose his integrity. We don’t want him to lose Rose—to sacrifice his marriage to carnal pleasure. We hear the voiceover saying, “Can a man scoop fire into his lap without his clothes being burned?”
From the first, we know that talented musician Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas) will be his temptress and his downfall. I despise her for throwing herself at Jed, but I also pity her. She tells Jed, “Do what you want—and don’t feel guilty about it.” But Jed cannot escape the guilt and he needs drugs to mask the devastating effects of guilt.
The Song successfully portrays the complexity of the sexual relationship between husband and wife. The wife wants to be desired for who she is, but she never wants to be used. She needs to be wooed.
The husband needs to feel wanted. In one scene of the movie where Rose pushed Jed away from her, Jed hollers: “How awful for you to feel desired by your spouse. It’s a terrible thing.” The viewer can easily empathize with both Rose and Jed.
If you can’t tell, I loved this movie. I screened it quite awhile back and I called it a “mini-masterpiece” because it honored the sanctity of marriage without compromising the art. I wondered if I would like it as much when I viewed it again recently. I did.
This is what Christian movie-making should look like. I hope Christian filmmakers are taking notes on why this movie is head and shoulders above most movies in the Christian genre. Written and directed by Richard Ramsey, The Song is his first feature film.
In an interview, he told ChristianCinema.com, “When real movies work and are successful it’s because, among many other things, they’re descriptive rather than prescriptive, story-driven rather than message-driven, and conversational rather than conversional. … Christian movies are generally the reverse of all that, which is why they don’t and won’t find success outside their core support audience. Whether or not The Song achieves this, audiences will ultimately decide. But, that’s what we tried to do.”
I think that The Song will indeed appeal to any discerning audience because of it’s topnotch script-writing, acting, and musical score. I hope jaded critics will give it the fair chance it deserves.
To download four free songs from the movie, visit noisetrade.