Fame (2009) is a remake of the 1980 Oscar-winning film of the same name. Of the 10 000 young people who apply for the prestigious New York City Fame School for the Performing Arts, only 200 lucky applicants make it in each year. Fame (2009) follows those lucky 200 from gruelling first auditions right through to their impressive graduation performance. Although the movie focuses on the performers’ creative talent and performances, it also goes into some of their personal lives.

Malik (Collins Pennie) is a tough guy with acting dreams, and Denise (Naturi Naughton) is a timid pianist with other creative desires. They both battle their parents’ expectations about their futures. Victor (Walter Perez) is an original music producer who finds it hard to toe the line. He asks his father to take a risk and finance him. Kevin (Paul McGill) is a country boy with dancing dreams. He must face the limitations of his talents. Joy (Anna Maria Perez de Tagle), a bubbly actress with huge potential, is snapped up by a prime time television show before school has finished. Jenny (Kay Panabaker) is a self-conscious actor trying to find her place in the ruthless world of show business. She falls for Marco (Asher Book), a singer with perfect pitch and a ‘good boy’ image, who is eager to help her succeed.

Some members of this vibrant group see their dreams crash. Others break through to the big time and ‘learn how to fly’.


Suicide; alcohol abuse; sexual harassment


This movie contains some violence. For example:

  • Malik talks about how his little sister was killed in a drive-by shooting.
  • Jenny finds herself in a compromising position when a successful actor asks her to his ‘trailer’ for a casting session. The actor begins to kiss her despite her protests. He pushes her backwards onto the couch before Jenny stops him and walks out of the trailer.
  • During the auditions, a character reads out a poem that refers to death, gang violence and racism. When reading one of the lines, the character puts his hand to his head in the shape of a gun and pretends to shoot.
  • Kevin almost throws himself in front of a train after receiving a confronting knockback. He is pulled back at the last minute.

Content that may disturb children

Under 8

In addition to the violent scenes mentioned above, this movie contains some scenes that could scare or disturb children under eight. For example, there is a Halloween party where all the characters are dressed up. There is drinking and loud music. The party is quite dark and could be scary for younger audiences.

From 8-13

Children in this age group could be disturbed by some of the violent scenes mentioned above.

Over 13

Some children in this age group could also be disturbed by the scenes of sexual assault and threatened suicide described above.

Sexual references

This movie contains some sexual references. For example:

  • Most of the dance sequences have some sexually provocative moves.
  • Jenny asks Marco back to her house. She says that her father is not due home until much later that night and then smirks at Marco.

Alcohol, drugs and other substances

This movie contains some substances. For example:

  • Several scenes show underage drinking. These include many of the people at the Halloween party drinking; many of the students drinking at another party where people drink shots and buy each other rounds; and a few bar and nightclub scenes.
  • Joy is videotaped getting drunk for the first time. She drinks alcohol out of a bottle in a brown paper bag and talks about not being sure whether she is drunk yet. She says she has never been ‘wasted’ before. A little while later, she stands up, shouts ‘Yahoo’ and vomits on the ground.

Nudity and sexual activity

This movie contains some nudity and sexual activity. For example:

  • There are many scenes of kissing. These include two young people kissing passionately in the lunch room; two young people kissing passionately at the Halloween party; the first kiss between Jenny and Marco; and other scenes of kissing in background shots.
  • Jenny finds herself in a compromising position when a successful actor asks her to his ‘trailer’ for a casting session. The actor begins to kiss her despite her protests. He pushes her backwards onto the couch before Jenny stops him and walks out of the trailer.

Product placement

The following products are displayed or used in this movie: Pepsi, Dell computers, Howard pianos, DW drums, Nine West, Freddy brand clothing and Baldwin pianos.

Coarse language

This movie contains some mild coarse language.

Ideas to discuss with your children

Fame is a remake of the 1980 film of the same name. This version might not have the impact of the original, but fans of the first Fame will probably enjoy the updated singing and dancing. Younger audiences seeing Fame for the first time are likely to be inspired by the dreams of the successful performers. The singing and dancing performances are sure to entertain younger and older audiences alike.

The main messages from this movie are the importance of determination, hard work, sacrifice and following your dreams. Values in this movie that you might wish to reinforce with your children include being true to yourself.

This movie could also give you the chance to talk with your children about issues such as:

  • underage drinking
  • lying to your parents
  • compromising your beliefs and values to gain success.