Parental Guidance

Three Country Music Movies That Are Better Than Forever My Girl

by | January 19, 2018 | Comments

Forever My Girl, which opens this week, is a tame, PG-rated romantic drama about a country music star’s homecoming that’s aimed at primarily teenage audiences. Unfortunately, critics say it isn’t particularly good, even for its genre, so if you’re not particularly interested in the film, Christy Lemire offers up three alternatives that are probably quite a bit more satisfying, but also just mild enough to watch with your kids… depending on their age and maturity level.


Forever My Girl (2018) 24%

Rating: PG, for thematic elements including drinking, and for language.

This bland, Nicholas Sparks-adjacent romance finds country music superstar Liam Page (Alex Roe) returning to his Louisiana small town and reconnecting with Josie (Jessica Rothe), the fiancée he left at the altar eight years earlier to pursue fame and fortune. It’s all about forgiveness, reconciliation and insipid music, with an adorable little girl (Abby Ryder Fortson) at the center. Writer-director Bethany Ashton Wolf’s film has some picturesque images of the bayou, and Roe and Rothe are sufficiently pretty, as well. But they don’t have much chemistry with each other, and many of the movie’s supposedly dramatic moments end up being unintentionally hilarious. Also, this is a decidedly PG-rated depiction of country-star excess, so Liam is only slightly surly and his major drinking problem consists of bringing a flask to a funeral. (He also visits the cleanest and most wholesome honky-tonk ever depicted on screen.) A child is briefly in peril. And before Liam sees the light, he wakes up in a hotel room with a groupie, but we don’t see any actual physical contact. This is a wholesome story of faith and redemption, suitable for viewers around 7 or 8 and older.


If Forever My Girl has you thinking about other movies set in the country music world you can watch with your family, here are a few suggestions:

Hannah Montana: The Movie (2009) 43%

Rating: G.

I’m not saying it’s a great movie, but it’s a fine choice if you’re looking for something the whole family can watch, and Miley Cyrus does have her undeniable charms here. The singer/songwriter/provocateur was still clinging to the last vestiges of her innocent, Disney Channel image here, playing both small-town sweetheart Miley Stewart and her secret pop-star alter ego, Hannah Montana. Similar to Forever My Girl, Miley gets a little petulant and carried away with her celebrity lifestyle in Los Angeles. This prompts a return to Tennessee for some hometown reprogramming, courtesy of Cyrus’ real-life dad, country star Billy Ray Cyrus. Slapstick humor abounds down on the farm, and Miley finds her first boyfriend in a farmhand (Lucas Till) who was a childhood friend. And of course, because this is a Hannah Montana adventure, the movie is filled with music. The insanely catchy Hoedown Throwdown is admittedly a highlight, as is the power ballad The Climb. Fine for all ages.

Coal Miner's Daughter (1980) 86%

Rating: PG, for adult situations/language and violence.

The gold standard for how to make a music biopic; everything else comes up short by comparison. Sissy Spacek rightly earned the Academy Award for best actress for her vivid portrayal of country music legend Loretta Lynn, and Michael Apted’s film received another six nominations, including best picture. I cannot even begin to tell you how many times I watched Coal Miner’s Daughter when I was 8 years old, even though I realize in retrospect that I didn’t truly understand some of the more adult elements of the story. Spacek stars as Lynn from the time she was a 13-year-old girl growing up poor in Butcher Hollow, Kentucky, all the way through her rise to country music superstardom. We see her marry her husband Doolittle Lynn (Tommy Lee Jones) when she was 15 and he was 22 (including their awkward wedding night in motel room), play the Grand Ole Opry, become friends with her idol, Patsy Cline (Beverly D, Angelo) and give birth to multiple children. But the pressure of performing and touring while also juggling fame and family causes her to have a breakdown. We also witness Lynn’s devastation after Cline’s death in a plane crash. And Doolittle Lynn is a notorious drunk and womanizer – which was the inspiration for many of Lynn’s most enduring country hits. Spacek shows massive range her in portraying Lynn over several decades and she did all her own singing. This is a beautifully acted film with a rich sense of place. It hits the important moments of Lynn’s life but still feels like a full, complex story. I highly recommend it for viewers around 8 and older, especially if they have an interest in music or performing.

Walk the Line (2005) 82%

Rating: PG-13, for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency.

Another great music biopic and another Academy Award-winning film: this time for best actress Reese Witherspoon’s performance as June Carter Cash, the muse and longtime love of Johnny Cash. Joaquin Phoenix also earned an Oscar nomination for his indelible role as the iconic, influential Cash. Director and co-writer James Mangold’s film may follow a familiar path along the way to country star greatness, from Cash’s youth on an Arkansas cotton farm and his early dabblings in music through his romance with singer June Carter and early dabblings in drugs. And of course, there are the eventual redemption and perspective that come with time and age. But Walk the Line features vibrant performances and tremendous energy. Phoenix and Witherspoon have ridiculous chemistry and, as Spacek did in Coal Miner’s Daughter, they performed their own songs and played their own instruments. But there’s even more grown-up material here, including adultery, significant drug and alcohol abuse, depression and language. Still, it’s a classic, and a fine choice for viewers around 13 and up. (And when your kids are older, you can show them the excellent and extremely R-rated Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox story, a dead-on parody starring John C. Reilly.)

Tag Cloud

science fiction Kids & Family VOD Disney Plus Crunchyroll Bravo PaleyFest MTV scary movies Rom-Com kids 2017 Awards Writers Guild of America Image Comics new star wars movies supernatural Comic-Con@Home 2021 police drama comics ratings Lucasfilm war Amazon Studios Sundance TV RT History Crackle 20th Century Fox deadpool scene in color cars 72 Emmy Awards ITV children's TV stoner The Academy blockbusters TV Rocketman crime drama Paramount Network Television Critics Association DGA PlayStation crime game show movies Esquire Spectrum Originals elevated horror Creative Arts Emmys El Rey thriller Disney streaming service technology Marathons MCU zero dark thirty hist boxing Nominations Funimation dogs Shondaland USA TCM indie anthology Marvel Television independent Wes Anderson docuseries canceled TV shows critics Pop casting Masterpiece basketball news french razzies suspense The Witch Cannes sports a nightmare on elm street Character Guide concert heist movie Action documentaries movie best criterion Captain marvel Women's History Month cancelled TV shows IFC crime thriller TruTV Mystery blockbuster venice 90s Sony Pictures james bond Thanksgiving Syfy know your critic quibi spider-man classics WGN canceled Disney Channel X-Men Set visit Watching Series Film Festival Summer reboot BBC Fall TV reviews kong Amazon cinemax book adaptation BBC America parents video historical drama Mary Tyler Moore Emmy Nominations indiana jones CW Seed Best and Worst transformers Mary Poppins Returns FXX space golden globes CNN Logo Turner Schedule political drama The Arrangement golden globe awards natural history ghosts jurassic park blaxploitation sitcom Showtime politics romance Alien Legendary justice league Classic Film TCA Awards DC Comics Warner Bros. Starz Box Office facebook Family Reality Competition comic books FX on Hulu miniseries green book Lifetime Christmas movies animated NBA book Certified Fresh cops zombies disaster President archives new zealand A24 breaking bad TIFF Valentine's Day ESPN hispanic New York Comic Con Drama singing competition 99% Marvel Studios VICE Freeform YA DirecTV psychological thriller Podcast Star Trek Apple directors OneApp Adult Swim sag awards rom-coms tv talk Comic Book emmy awards The CW remakes Teen series Binge Guide pirates of the caribbean Pet Sematary Discovery Channel japanese Quiz First Reviews Martial Arts USA Network BET halloween Sundance discovery Tokyo Olympics Apple TV+ FOX TCA Dark Horse Comics nbcuniversal superman high school TV movies Trivia live action DC Universe cancelled TV series Ghostbusters PBS 007 king kong Comedy stop motion unscripted Calendar olympics BET Awards Tomatazos BAFTA nature name the review Television Academy Fox Searchlight 2016 LGBTQ IFC Films Winners Paramount telelvision Apple TV Plus Turner Classic Movies halloween tv Star Wars Arrowverse Extras 93rd Oscars trailers toy story Tarantino Rocky versus Western Disney+ Disney Plus fast and furious AMC History vampires Disney screenings binge sequel TV renewals diversity Tubi theme song Nickelodeon HBO target rt archives what to watch aapi all-time HBO Go Grammys ABC Family Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt 45 godzilla Awards Tour streaming movies Pacific Islander dramedy 2019 Fantasy spain rotten movies we love The Walt Disney Company GLAAD Mindy Kaling spanish Sundance Now Exclusive Video Universal Ovation Red Carpet comiccon foreign SXSW BBC One psycho Shudder Academy Awards Trailer spanish language Broadway Amazon Prime Video Lionsgate TBS NYCC OWN harry potter richard e. Grant adaptation biography Countdown ABC Signature Food Network MSNBC christmas movies Pride Month HBO Max See It Skip It game of thrones zombie Interview screen actors guild universal monsters strong female leads 2020 lord of the rings YouTube Red Infographic Heroines saw CBS black Lifetime National Geographic teaser comic YouTube Premium Netflix Christmas movies romantic comedy CBS All Access south america documentary Hulu stand-up comedy Endgame composers new york The Purge italian Nat Geo laika 1990s Horror Super Bowl E3 japan Walt Disney Pictures TV Land TV One Brie Larson spinoff anime Winter TV films streaming popular fresh cults scorecard 2021 dark batman asian-american marvel cinematic universe toronto Spike Netflix NBC social media finale Mary poppins adenture 24 frames die hard Opinion Mudbound renewed TV shows witnail Election video on demand cancelled television jamie lee curtis monster movies nfl San Diego Comic-Con 21st Century Fox Black Mirror Fox News ID Epix Anna Paquin TCA 2017 Song of Ice and Fire rotten SundanceTV Year in Review APB 71st Emmy Awards Pirates Animation Holidays kaiju worst movies Hallmark Christmas movies Premiere Dates DC streaming service docudrama joker dc E! aliens boxoffice Reality free movies Sneak Peek Rock LGBT Cartoon Network SDCC comedies satire First Look TCA Winter 2020 Film Paramount Plus franchise Holiday Emmys slashers Musicals Amazon Prime hollywood Country Black History Month mutant TLC GoT adventure crossover Baby Yoda television cancelled football medical drama australia WarnerMedia YouTube Photos Pixar ViacomCBS Video Games dragons GIFs 4/20 Toys award winner VH1 Avengers Superheroes Chernobyl festivals travel Spring TV revenge latino child's play doctor who Ellie Kemper Music Trophy Talk women mockumentary Musical Comedy Central true crime Vudu robots Christmas serial killer Superheroe Sci-Fi Hallmark cartoon Cosplay Pop TV prank Biopics spy thriller A&E 2015 werewolf ABC worst based on movie 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards Stephen King sequels talk show TNT American Society of Cinematographers mission: impossible 2018 cats festival Columbia Pictures dceu legend Elton John international Comics on TV Chilling Adventures of Sabrina Britbox superhero The Walking Dead Marvel FX Travel Channel Oscars RT21 period drama chucky Tumblr Acorn TV Peacock CMT Hear Us Out Polls and Games cooking twilight obituary hidden camera