Two weeks ago, I flipped through Netflix to find something new and illuminating for the kids to watch. Television monitoring is not for the faint of heart in my home; Jrue and Jai literally sit and stare without blinking when entranced by a show, almost as if they are downloading to their brain computers. It can be alarming. I seek out palatable and catchy amusement because of this, particularly when mommy gets busy scrubbing the kitchen floor or making that night’s dinner.
On this Thursday evening, I chose the movie “Sing” to keep their interests as I packed us up for our road trip. I had heard of the movie’s release in 2016, but could not find the time to view when it was in theaters.
The movie did not disappoint; in fact, far from it. Several minutes in, I had to stop and corner myself on the couch as the kids bopped around to the beats. “Sing” is simply delightful for my music-loving children and for me as a toe-tapping mom, and I am so glad we’ve discovered it.
Variety describes the animation as “a story of an underdog koala who concocts a singing competition as a last-ditch attempt to save his over-extended theater,” which is just a part of the majestic quirkiness of the movie’s plot. (Debruge, 2016) The other part involves the personal stories of each of the distinct, anthropomorphic characters, some fitting, admittedly, a bit too well into not-so-positive stereotypes, but all representing different facets of singing ambition in our world carried away by “American Idol” fame aspiration. Each character has a way of building upon the others, encompassing a rapport essential to balancing the mayhem that occurs as the show “goes on.”
Many critics and viewers toted the screenplay of “Sing” as foreseeable and unoriginal, which I understand. But I see it as the type of unpredictability perfect for kids growing up in fast-paced existences with little attention spans. There’s not much in the way of plot that can mesmerize young people; it takes an alternate route. “Sing” does this. I do not believe that viewers tune in for the formulaic storyline more so than watching animals belt out popular music across all genres, the latter of which is why it’s a movie of choice in our home.
We love it.
As I think about the lessons my kids can grasp from the movie other than watching a parade of diverse animals who walk and talk “like us,” I am inspired by the following soaring messages.
- A dream is not worth much if the logic it attaches to is flimsy.
Throughout the story, Buster Moon, koala owner of the Moon Theater, displays poor decision-making that results in the demise of both his neglected playhouse and the rest of his reputation. Mr. Moon’s optimism and suspicious fast talk are his strong suits; however, little consideration is made to just how he was going to obtain the prize money for the show contestants and, later, the utmost safety of all in the theater as he dumped hundreds of gallons of water behind borrowed (stolen) glass fragments.
Takeaway for my kids: It is splendid to have dreams; douse any naysayers, or talk them into believing in you. Then, think through plans and actions. Always have Plans B and C queued up.
- Playing to a strength shows that you’re more than meets the eye.
One of my favorite characters, Rosita, is a pig mom of 25. Her life is monotonous and underwhelming as she wanders through the daily motions of feeding and cleaning and greeting her husband, Norman, on his way to bed. However, Rosita has an inner fire, one that she stokes through singing pop music. She is the one personality most likely to drop out of the competition since she has so much going against her and because, for so long, she pushed herself to the comforts of motherhood. However, taking on the strains of pursuing a love of music fundamentally energized Rosita into furthering exactly the jumpstart in life that she needed.
Takeaway for my kids: Don’t let anyone tell you what you should and shouldn’t be doing because of how you look, even family members. Trust in your talents. Keep them safe.
- Your voice is much more valuable when in rejoice.
There is a hilarious audition montage in the movie that is quite reflective of those we see on music reality shows today. Most of the contestants are the annoying, why-are-you-here sort that drives forward the entertainment factor of shows while emphasizing how fantastic those who are chosen stand out to be. I am a big supporter of trying; when it comes to singing or cooking or tying shoes or pursing a different career, I will always facilitate encouragement to the kids. Just like it was unrealistic for Mr. Moon and his assistant, Ms. Crawley, to have chosen every gifted animal in the bunch for their show, I promote that there will be more than one skillful person in a given room. My kids’ voices, then, become that much more pivotal when powered in enthusiasm and confidence.
Takeaway for my kids: Respect the success of others. Acknowledge their greatness. Then, use your joyful voice, your God-given qualification, to show that you’re just as awesome.
- Too much fear can paralyze; just enough fear can propel.
One of the best components of the movie was how each main character had his/her own tough circumstances that brought them to the meeting point of the show’s auditions. Rosita’s fear was in deserting her everyday tedium to pursue something new. Johnny the gorilla had a strained relationship with his criminalized father. Mike the mouse was a smooth-talking deviant who found himself in some money trouble with the wrong people. Ash the porcupine had to pull herself out from behind the shadow of a boyfriend who she once shared the stage with. Meena the elephant, one of the most impressive, was the epitome of stage fright. It became important for me to explain to my kids how each animal faced their apprehensions and acted on a desire that brought them great self-esteem and value in the end.
Takeaway for my kids: It is quite normal to be afraid. However, do not allow that trepidation to smother forward mobility. Use it as power.
Excuse me while I go and watch “Sing.”
Debruge, Peter. “Film Review: ‘Sing.'” Variety, Sep. 11, 2016, http://variety.com/2016/film/reviews/sing-review-illumination-entertainment-1201857701/. Accessed Aug. 26, 2017.