A gospel choir suddenly has a need for a new leader because the choir director dies of a heart attack. The obvious choice is the official assistant choir director Vi Rose Hill (played by Queen Latifah), but this goes against the wishes of the deceased Choir Director's wife G.G. Sparrow (played by Dolly Parton). G.G. has also been in the choir just as long as the assistant director has. Also G.G. feels she has precedence because she participated in the creative efforts side-by-side with her husband and because she is the major benefactor whose donations are the only reason the choir survives. Regardless, the church trustees decide in favor of Vi Rose to promote her to the position of choir director.
Vi Rose has a big problem. Her style of leadership is fascistic. Soon she finds major resistance to all of her demands. G.G. has a problem in that her grandson, Randy (played by Jeremy Jordan)suddenly shows up. Randy readily expresses his secular opinion, for example, using swear words in church with abandon, not paying any attention at all to the effect this has on the choir members. All this drama is added to the challenge of the choir's need to win the annual competition at the national finals. Seems like they can get to regional level, but always lose. The little town needs the inspiration of a win at the national level desperately, just to keep going.
A fluke occurs, where one of the choirs that were supposed to advance to the national competition gets eliminated, thereby providing an open slot for them. The trouble is, that many in the choir feel in order to win the national competition the choir needs to sing more contemporary songs. Against this, the preacher of the church insists on using only traditional songs. This traditional style has the full support of Vi Rose who is the new choir director. Vi Rose and G.G. even have a physical fight over this. Vi Rose has tremendous pressure in her family life. She clings to the false imagined stability of religious traditions even when everything is falling apart, but in the end she comes around. When she permits her daughter in the final competition, to sign a contemporary pop song with a gospel arrangement, it brings the house down and of course they win.
Best part of story, including ending:
This film is predictable, sappy, and almost annoying with its preachy flavor. The music is good if you ignore the simplistic plot.
Best scene in story:
The scene where the gospel choir does their version of the song by Michael Jackson's called "Man in the Mirror." It is a very nice arrangement for a gospel choir.
Opinion about the main character:
Not sure who is the main character in this film as both Vi Rose (Queen Latifah) and G.G. (Dolly Parton) share the lead roles. They both look out of place and have seen much better days in the earlier parts of their careers.