In a surprising move, Samuel Goldwyn Films picked up and released an unlikely film that has fashioned a modern-day love story from the Old Testament’s Song of Solomon. The Song follows the rise and fall of a spiritual country singer whose lackluster career takes off after he composes a song for his beloved wife.
The Song stars Alan Powell (TV series Nashville) as Jed King. Jed is the son of a famous singer named David King. The names in this film reflect and coincide with biblical references, such as the name David King reflecting King David. The film opens with images of David King, as a voiceover recites verses from the biblical Book of Proverbs on the perils of adultery and the adulteress woman.
As the voiceover is heard, images unfold of David King’s adulterous union with a friend’s wife as they all gather at his home. Other images follow. The image of a man who hangs himself. The image of a heartbroken woman crying. The image of newspaper headlines. His career has been foiled by his own actions. The images and voice over then take a new turn. David King repents, remarries, and has a son. The son is Jed. There is redemption. He teaches Jed how to play the guitar.
Fast forward–David has passed away and Jed King is now an adult. He sings and composes, but seems to lack that special something to launch him into stardom. He seemingly does not have the stuff that his father, David King, was made of. His agent advises him that he is indeed missing the passion that separates the floundering musicians from the superstars, and that he would continue to play small insignificant venues until he developed that passion. He then sends Jed off to perform at an Autumn festival, where he meets and falls in love with Rose (Ali Faulkner, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn), who is one of the hosts of the festival.
After a whirlwind courtship, Jed sits before Rose’s father, Shep (Danny Vinson, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button), and asks for Rose’s hand in marriage. Shep challenges Jed asserting that he is not impressed by the spiritual aspect of some of his music since his father David also sang about God. Jed, in turn, reminds Shep that his father made a mistake and redeemed himself.
Jed and Rose marry, have a child, and are happily in love. His union with Rose as well proves to provide him with the passion that he had been lacking in his craft. He composes a song for Rose and his career takes off.
Jed goes on tour as a successful artist and strikes up a friendship with his opening act, Shelby Bale (Caitlin Nicol-Thomas, TV series Nashville). Shelby is a talented powerhouse on stage. She is a tattoo-covered fiddler, who pops pills and has the hots for Jed, in spite of the fact that he is married. Shelby is the proverbial loose woman who can undo a good man, and after a time, this is exactly what Shelby does to Jed, or one might say what Jed does to himself.
Jed and Shelby begin to share the stage together as a twosome on a regular basis, spawned by an impromptu stage visit from Shelby and her fiddle during one of Jed’s solo performances. The electrified audience demands more and the tour continues onward featuring both acts as team.
While Shelby maneuvers herself slowly into Jed’s bed, she does so with cunning and calculation. Forced to spend months at a time away from Rose and their young son, Jed slowly descends into his fall from grace. Jed, who does not drink, ends up drinking. He does not take pills, but ends up popping pills. He also ends up tattooing his body, and most notably, he ends up in bed with Shelby, striking the final nail into his proverbial coffin.
What ultimately ensues is a firestorm. Jed is filled with guilt and tires of Shelby. An on-stage, rage-filled confrontation takes place, and Shelby is kicked out of the show. However, Shelby is not going down without a fight and the tale intensifies.
Alan Powell as Jed King is spectacular. His solid performance is married with a singing voice that is powerful enough to keep audiences engaged throughout lengthy musical segments. Additionally, Caitlin Nicol-Thomas shines as Shelby, who genuinely loves Jed.
The Song is not your typical film studio release. This film is genteel and yet not so schmaltzy that it could not attract audiences from the more popular film releases of the season. Morality-themed film productions are practically non-existent today and presumably not in demand. Time will tell if The Song will prove these presumptions wrong.
This production can handily attract movie goers from a variety of religious faiths. It simply tells its story and does not preach about religion. Of course, you will know that the story line does indeed reflect the Hebrew scriptures, but it does so in a manner that places its emphasis on the art of film making first, with biblical parallels to the peripheral. Written and directed by Richard Ramsey, whose experience has been mostly in film shorts, The Song is simplistic in nature, and yet the film does indeed take an unexpected twist, saving it from utter predictability. This serves as a credit to Ramsey, whose agent may now see new scripts on the horizon.
Rated PG-13 and a run time of 116 minutes, The Song is in limited release and can be seen in selected theaters. It is a welcomed respite from typical Hollywood productions.
By Janet Walters Levite