Reviewed by: John Decker
rags to riches, and back to rags
music in the Bible
How accurate is the movie?
|Featuring:||Christopher Walken … Angelo 'Gyp' DeCarlo
Francesca Eastwood … Waitress
Freya Tingley … Francine Valli
James Madio … Stosh
Billy Gardell … Actor
Kathrine Narducci … Mary Rinaldi
Mike Doyle … Bob Crewe
John Lloyd Young … Frankie Valli
Sean Whalen … Engineer
Vincent Piazza … Tommy DeVito
Steve Schirripa … Vito
|Distributor:||Warner Bros. Pictures|
If you expect a film about the history of a Rock ‘n’ Roll band to have more than plenty of foul language, every color of blasphemous terminology and a bit of mostly non-graphic violence, “Jersey Boys” will not surprise you.
This is one of those films that would work pretty well with a language filter, except the sexual references are somewhat frequent and not necessarily shrouded in curse words. It is, of course, no secret that sexuality is core to the story of Rock ‘n’ Roll. This movie indulges in many sexual imaginations, but I must say I was surprised at the lack of flesh. There is little of it—little or no heavy kissing, no nudity, no necking, just quite a bit of talk and a few tight dresses.
One character is a flagrant homosexual, and some of his sexual proclivities are made reference to more than once. His effeminacy is of milder proportion than characters from other films with similar roles—namely the role of quasi intellectual, talented, quick witted, gay artist. Think of Robin William’s brother in Mrs. Doubtfire. This character is a more groomed, masculine looking, more subtle version of such flamboyancy. My guess is this is not far at all from a true music producer of the 1950’s and 60’s. Violence-wise, there is a point blank shooting at one point in the film which is loud but not highly graphic. There are tempers, arguments, pushes and occasional strikes but not a whole lot of violence.
I do believe “Jersey Boys” is an accurate portrayal of Rock ‘n’ Roll history. If history interests you, or if you like Broadway plays, you’ll likely enjoy this film which is based on a play by the same name. The film is intriguing and has a good sense of humor.
It is also a tragic and accurate portrayal of what life on the road, not just with Rock artists, will do to a family. This film strengthened my resolve that families cannot be apart for long without growing apart. Even being on the road together, though it certainly poses particular difficulties, is not so unprescribed in Scripture as to be away from them. To abandon the primary blessing of family, a clear and present gift from God, except out of complete necessity, is foolish.
Blessed is every one that feareth the LORD; that walketh in his ways. For thou shalt eat the labour of thine hands: happy shalt thou be, and it shall be well with thee. Thy wife shall be as a fruitful vine by the sides of thine house: thy children like olive plants round about thy table. (Psalm 128:1-3)
“Jersey Boys” has a lot of value, in between the frequent f-bombs and lewd sexual references. It glorifies the music without glorifying the certainly less-than-glorious lives. Director Clint Eastwood certainly shows his cinematic talent in this film. I expect it to not be surpassed soon as a solid portrayal of what was formed in an a little Italian community, what became a large slice of American history and changed the course of music the world over.
Violence: Mild to moderate / Profanity: Extreme / Sex/Nudity: Moderate
See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.
…one of the year’s best… You couldn’t ask for a more meticulous depiction of the ’50s… a familiar story, yes — but rarely told this well and with this much heart and soul. [3½4]
—Lou Lumenick, New York Post
…Jersey Boys is entertainingly told, yet is a more traditional film than are many Eastwood-directed works. Most outstanding is the acting, especially John Lloyd Young, who won a Tony for originating the Frankie Valli role on Broadway. … [2½5]
—Louis Black, The Austin Chronicle
…Sweet but sordid, a darker take on music that’s usually identified with a more carefree, wholesome era. …
—Christian Hamaker, Crosswalk
…A dash of showbiz pizzazz has been lost but some welcome emotional depth has been gained in the big-screen version of the still-thriving theatrical smash “Jersey Boys.”…
—Todd McCarthy, The Hollywood Reporter
…A bubblegum dream popped… flat-as-a-platter adaptation… [1½/4]
—Geoff Pevere, The Globe and Mail
…Clint Eastwood film is must-see for Frankie Valli fans… At its best, “Jersey Boys” moves and grooves like a musical “Goodfellas,” but it can also be as exasperating as a scratched-up LP. Just when it finds its rhythm, it misses a beat.[2½/4]
—Rafer Guzmán, Long Island Newsday
…musical, violent and quirky. With its ingredients of Goodfellas-like hostility, backstage egos running amuck, and on-the-road adultery…
—Phil Boatwright, Preview Family Movie and TV Review
…reinforces the sense that all’s well that ends well. Such is the magical lie of movies. …The foul language they included here is the biggest drawback. Some of the sexual situations are more than just a little discomforting. …
—Paul Asay, Plugged In
…well-made… JERSEY BOYS is marred by intense vulgarity and poor lifestyle choices. No redemption is offered in this morality tale. …
—Ted Baehr, Movieguide