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

book adaptation dexter Logo biography young adult HBO Go hispanic heritage month TCA Awards pirates of the caribbean Image Comics Schedule 2019 spanish mob Summer USA Holidays scary movies Television Critics Association hist cops Trophy Talk Country satire disaster DC streaming service festival Infographic ESPN Marvel Studios APB BBC NBA Amazon Prime Video Games anime TCM ratings italian Rock japan jurassic park Disney+ Disney Plus space screen actors guild Ellie Kemper Spike tv talk CMT sequels 007 TV renewals Universal Pictures lord of the rings marvel cinematic universe aliens DGA aapi video Dark Horse Comics Lifetime french zero dark thirty Apple TV+ Baby Yoda venice Amazon Studios Biopics technology prank versus genre Peacock Amazon supernatural Brie Larson comiccon 20th Century Fox President 2015 ViacomCBS comics binge comedies VICE Set visit BET Awards Exclusive Video monster movies ITV BAFTA cancelled Western Chilling Adventures of Sabrina TV Land Marvel Television WarnerMedia LGBT Adult Swim YouTube Red adaptation American Society of Cinematographers See It Skip It rom-coms rt archives Winter TV Lucasfilm game of thrones mockumentary BBC One best National Geographic Binge Guide foreign Nat Geo The Purge Star Wars saw dc new york romance sitcom Nominations crime thriller Martial Arts Paramount Network classics Columbia Pictures Quiz Superheroes international 24 frames TIFF Tumblr Disney Plus Drama godzilla critic resources Classic Film series E3 Awards Sundance Now YA jamie lee curtis FX know your critic Black History Month target Horror Avengers Heroines Best and Worst Animation comic book movies Rom-Com WGN Valentine's Day canceled TV shows Character Guide cooking Hallmark Christmas movies ABC Signature CBS All Access Reality Competition USA Network A24 HBO Max Paramount Plus thriller harry potter DirecTV name the review romantic comedy art house singing competition facebook deadpool posters new star wars movies rotten worst cancelled TV series GIFs composers based on movie nfl television superhero Arrowverse TCA Freeform E! vs. Creative Arts Emmys all-time zombies dramedy movie Legendary olympics toy story AMC Kids & Family travel zombie adventure Box Office Walt Disney Pictures cats medical drama period drama science fiction Fantasy FX on Hulu kaiju TV movies TV Endgame critics Chernobyl Britbox New York Comic Con Neflix The CW sopranos free movies First Look child's play Pop TV TBS Elton John new zealand Black Mirror Epix Star Trek psychological thriller Pet Sematary nbcuniversal First Reviews TNT diversity Song of Ice and Fire Captain marvel X-Men legend Pacific Islander Shondaland Cosplay The Walt Disney Company Red Carpet obituary Mystery 73rd Emmy Awards Spring TV Film japanese Pride Month discovery DC Universe Pop robots Emmy Nominations suspense spider-man cinemax Disney streaming service heist movie slashers 2018 football live action rt labs cancelled television SDCC scene in color elevated horror australia cults Comic Book History 72 Emmy Awards Funimation Turner Classic Movies Travel Channel Action Countdown sag awards CNN AMC Plus Polls and Games Disney Channel die hard historical drama Sundance A&E natural history TLC fresh Tubi PBS boxoffice spanish language casting theme song Paramount superman doctor who politics spain Pirates women Comic-Con@Home 2021 IFC Films Showtime emmy awards black comedy Discovery Channel The Witch OWN 2020 ABC Family Music Masterpiece cartoon IMDb TV Turner breaking bad action-comedy cars remakes basketball chucky Year in Review laika IFC Sci-Fi 78th Annual Golden Globe Awards gangster Mindy Kaling Trailer Writers Guild of America franchise witnail latino justice league dceu psycho 1990s mutant trailers Mudbound adenture Grammys war festivals directors canceled high school films concert Interview Universal indie halloween tv mcc ID dark telelvision debate Spectrum Originals richard e. Grant Christmas movies Mary poppins renewed TV shows feel good asian-american nature indiana jones SundanceTV Syfy Calendar The Academy Podcast independent Sneak Peek hispanic reboot Fall TV Toys Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Musicals crime drama anthology DC Comics werewolf Amazon Prime Video comic books Tomatazos streaming crossover Mary Tyler Moore GLAAD 99% stop motion Extras king arthur halloween joker MTV 71st Emmy Awards Broadway Starz black miniseries YouTube Premium teaser biopic news political drama Film Festival Wes Anderson 2016 Fox Searchlight comic book movie TCA 2017 vampires docudrama worst movies 21st Century Fox The Arrangement Cartoon Network Ovation documentaries mission: impossible BET police drama award winner golden globe awards Alien Watching Series Certified Fresh LGBTQ Netflix Christmas movies Hear Us Out james bond Pixar Hulu strong female leads Rocketman green book Photos blaxploitation Women's History Month Tarantino spinoff BBC America Crunchyroll PlayStation dragons dreamworks Stephen King TV One Apple TV Plus video on demand ABC Mary Poppins Returns CW Seed docuseries archives Cannes TruTV El Rey Esquire documentary talk show toronto CBS Warner Bros. children's TV MCU sports royal family reviews blockbuster Comedy Central slasher razzies RT21 a nightmare on elm street serial killer SXSW Bravo kong Crackle finale unscripted Nickelodeon fast and furious Rocky Reality Acorn TV golden globes Lifetime Christmas movies FOX batman south america sequel screenings HBO Television Academy streaming movies Marvel wonder woman boxing Superheroe TCA Winter 2020 Vudu Comedy FXX VH1 comic true crime universal monsters 2021 Anna Paquin Shudder revenge Emmys Ghostbusters Apple NYCC Fox News 45 spy thriller Awards Tour San Diego Comic-Con what to watch 2017 Premiere Dates Netflix Disney Food Network king kong Opinion Academy Awards 93rd Oscars Musical transformers hidden camera rotten movies we love cancelled TV shows animated Hallmark Winners hollywood live event Election quibi criterion parents Marathons GoT Sony Pictures MSNBC social media popular NBC rt labs critics edition Comics on TV marvel comics RT History spider-verse The Walking Dead Thanksgiving blockbusters VOD 4/20 Lionsgate scorecard Instagram Live Family Tokyo Olympics YouTube scary crime Sundance TV Teen Trivia book OneApp stoner Oscars kids ghosts PaleyFest stand-up comedy game show Super Bowl 90s Holiday dogs twilight christmas movies