By JASON REYNOLDS
Tennessee Christian News
FRANKLIN – Sex, drugs and music. Those aren’t topics you would expect from a biblical movie. But a film coming out next Friday blends those problems into a modern adaptation of the Song of Solomon from the Old Testament.
I attended the red carpet premiere of “The Song” on Friday at the Franklin Theatre in the city of Franklin. The movie will be released to the public next Friday, Sept. 26.
The movie is rated PG-13. There is partial nudity, promiscuity, marital infidelity, smoking (of more than just tobacco), alcohol, drugs and domestic fighting. Parents who are careful of what their teenagers see may want to watch the movie without them to determine if it is suitable. With that being said, the movie is definitely biblical in scope; it just happens to be relevant to today’s social issues.
‘Rose of Sharon’
“The Song” is rich in biblical allegories. The main character, Jed King (Alan Powell), is an up-and-coming musician who meets his future wife, Rose (Ali Faulkner from “Twilight: Breaking Dawn”), at a vineyard. Rose is the daughter of a vineyard owner in the rural community of Sharon. According to Song of Songs, “I am a rose of Sharon, a lily of the valleys.” That line – and many other verses from Song of Songs – is quoted throughout the film as a voiceover.
The couple’s meeting is handled very sweetly. The courtship starts off in a humorous way with Jed seeking the intimidating father’s permission (in a room filled with hunting trophies). Rose and Jed get married and have a son. Do they have an idyllic marriage? Not so fast.
Jed writes a song, titled “The Song,” about Rose, and it becomes a hit. Jed starts touring like crazy. His rare visits home become filled with marital strife, so he starts hitting the road more and more, and that’s when temptation sets in. I can’t go into too much more without giving the story away, but suffice it to say there is a strong message of love, temptation, betrayal, grace and redemption.
There are notable similarities to “Walk the Line,” the biographical film of Johnny Cash. Both King and Cash are portrayed as up-and-coming musicians who get married, go on tour, become famous and then nearly destroy their lives. While the Cash story was based on real life, “The Song” is a fictional story influenced by the Bible. However, there is another real-world influence in “The Song.”
Marital stress in real life
I was privileged to interview Alan Powell back in the spring during an early promotion for the film. Powell is the lead singer for a Christian band called Anthem Lights. He said there were times during filming that the character mirrored his life. Musical tours do take a toll on a musician’s home life, he said. It’s hard to constantly leave family behind.
“I told my wife, while watching the screening, that where he fights with his wife about being gone a lot, and about his response, that while filming the scene, I wasn’t acting,” Powell said. “I spend a lot of time on the road. I was able to draw from a lot of personal experience.”
Powell, a native of Florida, met his wife there. The couple lives in the Sunshine State and has two young children. Powell is the son of a pastor and grew up in the church. Although he is new to acting, films are the media that move him the most. He formed a lasting friendship with “The Song’s” writer and director, Richard Ramsey, who sees the world in the same way, he said.
“I love his point of view on things and I respect his opinion artistically and personally.”
Meaniang of life
As a modern day re-telling of the story of Solomon, Powell said, the movie deals with issues that are timeless: the existence of God, the meaning of life and family.
“These things are still very relevant in our lives,” Powell said. “The idea translates into a modern film in a way that is simple and artistic. I’m really excited about the meaning and the inspiration. The story is about what that sort of success can do to you and the temptation and the focus of time and energy on material things or things we believe really matter, which is family and faith.
The film is from City on a Hill Productions and Samuel Goldwyn Films. The cast also includes Caitlin Nicol-Thomas (who plays Shelby) from the “Nashville” show on ABC. Shelby is a musician who plays a temptress in “The Song.” Kyle Idleman is the executive producer.
The red carpet premiere was a first for me. To say it was star-studded would be a cliché, but extremely accurate as well. Here is a summary of some of the celebrities I encountered:
- Much of the Robertson family from “Duck Dynasty,” including Alan, Miss Kay and Willie. Their availability was mainly limited to photo ops. I only got to say hello briefly to Allen; I interviewed him last month for a project he will release Oct. 28, a new study version of the Bible. Look for that interview in the Times-Gazette sometime before Oct. 28.
- Ali Faulkner (Rose).
- The Roys. Lee and Elaine Roy are siblings in the bluegrass group The Roys.
- Zoro. This friendly, down-to-earth man is known as the “Minister of Groove” and is an internationally famous rock star, motivational speaker and author. He has been voted the No. 1 R&B drummer and clinician by music industry magazines.
- Jason Crabb. He is a Grammy and Dove winner who has performed at Carnegie Hall and the Grand Ole Opry.
- Flatt Lonesome, a bluegrass band.
- And last but certainly not least, Ricky Skaggs. The 14-time Grammy Award winner lent his musical talents to “The Song.” He also has a new album coming out Sept. 30: “Ricky Skaggs and Sharon White: Hearts Like Ours.” I spoke briefly to Ricky, and he was very nice and down-to-earth.
Keep checking my blog for more information, and photos, on the Christian entertainers who attended the premiere.