Mighty Oak - A Mighty Film!

Mighty Oak - Image from Paramount Pictures

2020 has seen it's fair share of movies released straight to digital platforms and once again, I'm here for it!  The latest movie heading to digital is Mighty Oak from Paramount Pictures.  Featuring music, some heavy topics, and a whole lot of love, it's one that you won't want to miss.

Mighty Oak Movie Review

Mighty Oak begins by introducing us to the band, Army of Love.  Front man, Vaughn has it all - talent, looks, and his sister Gina as the band's manager and always looking out for him.  But a car accident quickly brings this rising band to a standstill.  While others walk away from the crash, Vaughn is killed on site.  The movie then jumps ahead 10 years where we catch up with the former band members all leading different lives.  But when a 10 year old boy, Oak, begins playing Vaughn's old guitar, it brings back old memories.  Gina, who has been struggling with depression since the death of her brother, wonders if this young boy is Vaughn reincarnated.  

Oak has a story of his own though.  After being born in Los Angeles, he has just moved to Ocean Beach with his mom.  Fitting in at school as been hard, especially as rumors about his mother's drug use swirl among the student body.  The one thing Oak has - and he relies on - is his love of music and an amazing talent for it.  He feels like he has found his family when he meets the members of Army of Love and they bring him into the band and nickname him, Mighty Oak.

"No matter what, you were meant to be part of this family." ~ Gina

Things don't go smoothly though for the band members or Mighty Oak.  What follows is truly an emotionally powerful journey for not only the cast of characters, but the audience too.  You'll cheer, you'll cry, and you'll truly believe in the power of music.  Without spoiling where the story goes, let me just say that I dare you not to cry at least once in the final 30 minutes of the film (for the record - I teared up 3 times!).  The cast nails those very raw emotional moments with particular nods to Janel Parrish as Gina and Tommy Ragen as Oak. It's a movie with a lot of heart and I really enjoyed watching it.

"It's amazing what the power of love and music can do." ~ DB

Mighty Oak - Image from Paramount Pictures

Is Mighty Oak Kid Friendly?

I watched the trailer ahead of the film and decided to check this film out first before deciding if I would let my kids watch it.  It does carry a PG-13 rating, but I have let my oldest watch some other PG-13 movies depending on the content.  After watching the movie, I can say that I made the right choice for my son not to watch this with me.

Typically, the biggest concerns I have from a parent perspective are around language and intense violence.  Neither of those are major concerns in this film.  From a language perspective, there is some but it's relatively mild (sh**, da**, he**) and not over-the-top.  There is also no violence to speak of, although there are images of the car accident which may frighten young viewers (in one of the flashbacks in particular you see a piece of glass coming out of a woman's forehead and blood on her face).

My decision to not show Mighty Oak to my elementary school aged son was centered around the hard topics that the movie portrays.  Oak encounters his mom's drug use several times throughout the film including pill bottles and syringes.  There is also a part where law enforcement is involved.  Gina's depression is another big part of the film as she learns to come to grips with her brother's death - nightmares of the accident and unhealthy coping strategies in particular.  

As credit to how well this movie is done, all of these topics are handled well and in a manner that parents would be able to converse about them with their kids - they're just not conversations I am ready to have with my 8 year old yet.  All of this is also central to the movie's plot so it's not passing references that your child may not notice.  If your child is old enough to handle those topics and you're ready to tackle questions on them, I think you'd very much enjoy the film.  I would say from my own parenting comfort level that I would recommend this for middle school and older.

Final Thoughts on Mighty Oak

Mighty Oak - Image from Paramount Pictures

I would definitely recommend this film for teenagers and up.  It's a perfect mix of heart, compassion, music, and real life.  The film is not afraid to tackle big issues that young adults deal with and does so in a convincing and appropriate way.  I laughed, cried, cheered, and everything in between!  Performances by the entire cast were solid all the way around, but newcomer Tommy Ragen as Oak deserves a special shout out.  He delivered a deep and complex character beautifully!  It was easy to get lost in this film and root for our heroes.  Enjoy with a box of tissues handy though!  

About Mighty Oak (From Paramount Pictures)

MIGHTY OAK tells the story of Gina (Janel Parrish, “Pretty Little Liars,” To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before), a band manager who struggles after losing her brother/lead singer (Levi Dylan, 12 Mighty Orphans) in a fatal car accident while traveling to a gig. A decade later, Gina meets a 10-year-old music prodigy named Oak, played by newcomer Tommy Ragen, a real-life prodigy whose music inspired the screenplay. Oak seems to possess the same qualities as Gina’s late brother, inspiring her to pull her life back together and try to reunite the band with Oak as its new front man.

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