Music of the Heart

1999 PG 2h 3m DVD

Music of the Heart

1999 PG 2h 3m DVD
  • Overview
  • Details
In director Wes Craven's inspiring Oscar-nominated drama -- which is based on a true story -- a violinist and single mother struggles to convince the administration at an East Harlem high school to let her establish a music program.
Meryl Streep, Aidan Quinn, Gloria Estefan, Angela Bassett, Jane Leeves, Cloris Leachman, Kieran Culkin, Charlie Hofheimer, Jay O. Sanders, Henry Dinhofer, Michael Angarano, Robert Ari, Teddy Coluca
Wes Craven
Widescreen Anamorphic 1.85:1
English: Dolby Digital 5.1, French: Dolby Digital 5.1
PG - Some material may not be suitable for children. Parents urged to give parental guidance. May contain some material parents might not like for their young children.
age 10+
Common Sense rating OK for kids 10+
age 10+

Common Sense Note

Parents need to know that Music of the Heart is based on the true story of a teacher's struggle to teach violin to inner city kids in Harlem. There are some heavy themes, such as poverty, divorce, a father abandoning his wife and sons to be with another woman, and the discussion (but not depiction) of violence or its consequences, such as the death of a child from a drive-by shooting, and a family going into hiding because of the father's abuse. There is some mild profanity ("bitch" and "hell"). The film is a positive, uplifting look at the positive role of music in the lives of disadvantaged kids, but heavier themes and long run time (two hours) make it best for older kids.

Sexual Content

A man and woman kiss in a few scenes. A man is discussed as having left his wife for another woman. A woman is shown waking up in bed, appearing to be naked under the covers (but with a blanket up to her arms), as if to imply the previous night's intercourse. Teenage boys place an ad in the newspaper to solicit dates for their single mother. A woman goes on a date with a man.


Aside from a brief fight between kids, which shows one kid with a bloody nose and putting another in a headlock, there is no depicted violence in the film. However, the results of violent behavior are discussed, including the deaths of grandparents, a child who is discussed as having died from a gunshot wound from a drive-by, and a girl who discusses her father's abuse of her mother, but none of these instances is shown visually. The risk inherent in the lives of these inner city children creates a sense of peril about their lives overall.


Mildly insulting language is used, such as "stupid," "bitch," "what the hell," and "oh my god."

Social Behavior

Music of the Heart offers positive messages about passion, integrity, leadership, the importance of music and art in children's development, fighting for something you believe in, and the rewards of perseverance and hard work in achieving your goals. It also focuses heavily on the importance of community in improving neighborhoods.


Not applicable

Drugs / Tobacco / Alcohol

In a few scenes, adults are showing drinking wine or beer in casual settings.

  • Age appropriate
  • Not an issue
  • Depends on your child and your family
  • Parents strongly cautioned
  • Not appropriate for kids of the age

This information for parents is provided by Common Sense Media, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving kids' media lives.

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