Kernel Rating (out of 5):
MPAA Rating: NR Length: 95 minutes
Age Appropriate For: 13+. The film is rated NR, but its content is equivalent to a PG-13 rating because of a couple of instances of cursing (the s-word, the f-word), one use of the n-word, and some sexually suggestive lyrics in various songs performed throughout the film. Also discussion of segregation, racism, corrupt police officers and business owners, and some coverage of how the civil-rights movement worked to combat these elements.
The documentary ‘Take Me to the River’ explores the Memphis music scene and how its racial integration and unique sound had an undeniable impact on American culture. But the film jumps between too many subjects and too many concepts to really make a legitimate case for its argument.
By Roxana Hadadi
Music documentaries had a great 2013: Dave Grohl’s “Sound City,” about the rock ‘n’ roll studio and bands that recorded there, like Fleetwood Mac and Tom Petty; “20 Feet from Stardom,” which profiled various prolific backup singers; and “Muscle Shoals,” about the Alabama town that impacted everyone from the Rolling Stones to Aretha Franklin. All those documentaries did their part to cover aspects of the music industry that don’t receive enough attention, and this year’s “Take Me to the River” wants to join their ranks in exploring the long-lasting effect of Memphis’s music scene. But in contrast to its predecessors, this film is too scatterbrained and unstructured to get its point across.