"Pursuing Your Dreams"
What You Need To Know:
FAME has strong song and dance numbers and some positive moral and redemptive content. Hard work and determination are rewarded, teachers provide positive support to students, and a Christian hymn is sung. Regrettably, the movie lacks a consistent storyline and appropriate character development. It also contains some negative elements. These include underage alcohol use, some foul language and light sexual references, a character who considers suicide, and poor parental role models. This negative content is pitched at a PG level, so MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for media-wise viewers who might be interested in this remake.
(RoRo, B, C, Pa, LL, S, AA, M) Strong Romantic worldview with characters working hard to pursue their dreams and passions, some moral content with one main character choosing her friends over fame and students practice discipline and excellence, along with a Christian element where choir sings “What a Mighty God We Serve,” and some pagan elements where actions (i.e. drinking, relationships, etc.) and resolutions to problems (i.e., one character contemplates suicide) are devoid of God; 11 obscenities and three profanities; no violence; sexual content includes a few instances of boy/girl kissing, boy watches girl while she dances, boy tries to take advantage of girl in his trailer but she rejects him and runs away, girls dance provocatively in a couple of instances, and girl tells boy they can hang out at her dad’s apartment while he is out but it’s unclear as to whether it’s a sexual implication; no explicit nudity, but some bare midriffs with girls dancing in their outfits; alcohol use depicted with teenagers drinking at party, boy pulls two beers out his fridge, and girl gets drunk for filming a scene in a class project but she says she’ll never do it again; no smoking or drugs; and, many negative parental role models with little resolution between teenagers and their parents but teachers at the school are very positive role models, boy lies to his mother about attending school but she eventually finds out and it is unclear as to whether the issue is ever resolved, girl lies to parents about pursuing a singing career and although relationship with mother is reconciled, her father still doesn’t approve, and boy contemplates suicide after being told he won’t make it as a dancer but he doesn’t follow through on it.
The musical remake, FAME, could be labeled as a “grittier” and flashier version of the HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL genre, but in comparison to its 1980 predecessor, the content is very mild. FAME follows a group of students from audition day until graduation as they undergo specialized training at the New York Academy of Performing Arts, training that often leads to success in becoming famous actors, dancers, singers, etc.
Denise, a talented classical pianist who also happens to have an amazing voice, struggles with whether she should please her parents by sticking to piano or pursuing her passion for singing. Malik, a kid from the street, struggles with his anger over painful experiences from his past and must decide whether he will let this hurt him or help him to achieve his goals. Jenny, an aspiring actress, faces her own insecurities and lack of confidence as many other talented individuals surround her. Kevin, a struggling ballet dancer who has to work twice as hard just to keep up with everyone else, faces the dilemma of what he will do with his life if he doesn’t make it after graduation.
FAME follows these characters and more as they face the constant challenges of honing their skills toward achieving excellence, while at the same time dealing with romance, broken relationships, parental opposition, scam artists, competition, and more.
While the movie contains some breathtaking musical numbers and inspiring dance performances, the production elements are greatly lacking in regards to the inconsistent storyline and poor character development. Rather than follow just two, three or even four characters, the movie attempts to introduce eight characters in the story and follow their lives over the course of their time at the school. Because of this, there is just too much information excluded, ultimately making it difficult for viewers to truly relate or empathize with each character’s plight. Also, it seems that, with so many stories to tell, it became difficult for the screenwriters to figure out how to resolve each storyline, leaving many details unsettled with questions still left to be answered.
FAME, though toned down in content when compared to the 1980 version, still contains some elements requiring caution such as the lying and dishonesty displayed by some students. These issues aren’t always completely resolved. Also, the movie contains some pagan elements including underage alcohol use, light sexual references, a character who contemplates suicide, and negative parental role models. Some positive content includes characters who work hard to achieve their goals while overcoming the challenges, one Christian element with a choir singing the hymn “What a Mighty God We Serve,” and supportive teachers who provide positive reinforcement to the students.
All in all, the FAME remake warrants caution for its negative content, which is pitched at a PG level.