Last week, our little family was lucky enough to be invited to the Gateway Megaplex in downtown Salt Lake City to a special preview event for the upcoming film, Sing. NBC Universal reached out to me and offered me four tickets to come see the film three weeks before it’s out in theaters. Since my kids have been singing songs from the commercials for weeks, I knew they’d be super excited to go. We left it as a last minute surprise, though, because I knew they would go crazy counting down the days.
Since we only had four tickets, and since Chester is still a little too young for movie outings, we dropped him off with his grandma and headed out to the cinema. We arrived and loaded ourselves up with pizza and popcorn and gallons of root beer, and we settled in to our seats to wait for the movie to start.
Now, I’ll be honest, I saw the previews for the film, and though I thought it’d be a great movie for kids, I was less enthusiastic about what it might offer adults. I told Mark before we went that I wasn’t sure we’d get much enjoyment out of it. But I am happy to admit that I was dead wrong!
The movie follows several characters from diverse backgrounds as they come together for one common goal. Each of them has the same big dream – to be a famous entertainer. But each of them has something holding them back.
There’s Buster Moon (Matthew McConaughey), an optimistic, though somewhat underhanded koala who owns a crumbling but beloved theater. His goal throughout the film is to do right by his late father (who bought him the theater) and turn it back into something grand. Late with his bank payments and running out of ideas, he pulls his resources together to offer a $1000 prize in a singing competition. But due to his addelpated assistant, the prize is mistakenly advertised to be $100,000!
Animals (because this is an anthropomorphic world where animals exist in place of humans) from all walks of life are drawn to compete for this mega prize, but Buster narrows it down to a select few.
There’s a mouse named Mike (Seth McFarlane) who is a crooner and con artist. He doesn’t even consider that he might not win, and he has already spent his winnings before the contest opens.
There’s a teenage elephant, Meena (Tori Kelly), who is a world-class singer, highly supported by her family, who suffers from extreme stage fright. While we, the audience, can see what an incredible singer she is, her fear holds her back from being part of the show.
A punk rock porcupine named Ash (Scarlett Johansson) auditions with her boyfriend who considers himself the star of their duo. When she is selected and he isn’t, she has to decide whether she wants to be a star or give it all up for an unsupportive partner.
Johnny (Taron Egerton) is a young gorilla from a family of gangsters. His father wants him to join the gang, robbing banks and performing other criminal acts, but all Johnny wants to do is sing. When a heist goes wrong due to Johnny’s involvement with the show, his father is arrested and refuses to acknowledge Johnny as his son.
And finally, there is my favorite character, Rosita (Reese Witherspoon), an overburdened mother of 25 little piglets who wants nothing more than to show the world she is more than just a mom. She knows she can sing, but she’s stuck in a rut with neither romance nor glamour. When she is paired with uber-confident Gunter (Nick Kroll), a dancing German pig, she has to find it within her to let go of her insecurities and let her star shine bright.
The characters together form a well-formed ensemble with enough differentiation to appeal to all walks of life. The color and music within the film appeal to younger audiences (my kids were 3 and 5) while still having enough storyline for adults.
At times, the movie is kind of somber, and Daniel (3) turned to me often to tell me it was making him too sad. In fact, at the end of the film, when I asked if he liked it, he told me he only liked it a little bit because there was too much sadness in it. Dexter (5) on the other hand thought it was wonderful and said he really liked it. For this reason, I think I’d advise not to take kids that are preschool age, as they may find it slightly offputting.
All in all, we had a great time at the movie. The message behind it all – follow your dreams – couldn’t be more clear, and ever since we saw it, both boys have taken up their artistic endeavors in earnest.
Dexter has decided he is the best artist in the world, and each day he brings me new artwork to hang on the wall, each better than the last. Daniel has aspirations of being a great singer, and he has started putting on shows for us. He also has taken to jumping up on my lap and making videos of himself singing.
Obviously, I encourage this as much as possible. I want my kids to know that they can be anything they want to be. Daniel came home from preschool a few days ago and said that a boy in his class had told him he wasn’t the best singer in the world. I told him to ignore the boy and just concentrate on practicing so he is the best singer he can be.
The Sing movie is an amazing way to get kids to follow their dreams. No matter what is going on in your life, if you are willing to put the work in, you can get where you want to be. The only person that can hold you back is you. I love this sentiment and plan on buying the movie when it comes out.
I highly recommend going to see it. It is in theaters December 21st.