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every night's a good night for some xylophoning...

PG-13

Dominic, Nancy, Rose

Dominic: In our daily lives, there must be music.  In everything we do, if there’s music, life becomes so good.

A group of children whose families have been displaced, due to war, from their homes in Northern Uganda prepare to participate in a music and dance competition.

This is a really sad and moving documentary, mainly featuring 3 children who have lost family members in the conflict raging in Uganda.  They currently live in a camp, along with 60,000 other people, controlled by the government, but if they venture too far outside the camp, they risk being captured or killed by violent rebels.

The main thing giving these kids any sort of hope in the world is music.  They can put aside their problems and pain while they play music or dance, and dream about a life outside of their current situation.  The thing about hopes and dreams is that they can get lost amid our daily lives filled with distractions.  But these kids don’t have TVs to watch, parties to attend, etc.  Their dreams ARE their distractions, from all the miserable memories they have to deal with every day.  When you hear a 13 year old girl, Rose, tell the story of when she had to identify her parents by looking at their heads that had been put in a boiling pot of water, you wonder how she can even function anymore.

Yet, there she is, smiling and dancing and dreaming of being the best at the competition.  I won’t spoil the competition outcome for you.

My only (minor) complaints would be that a few scenes seem to be slightly staged, perhaps.  I guess I can’t know that for sure, but a few bits here and there felt a little inauthentic.  Also, the over-dramatic lighting, thunder sound effects, etc that accompanied the back stories was a little bit much.

All in all, this is an effectively uplifting (but sad) look at how powerful and therapeutic music (and having a dream in general) can be.  It looks good, the music is good, and the 3 main kids are all likable and will have you cheering for them at the competition at the end.

I would not suggest vacationing in Uganda.

10 – 1 for those over-dramatic or inauthentic moments = 9.0