We love watching movies from a variety of genres, everything from Sci-Fi to Disney animations we will watch with an open mind.   In my opinion, having an open mind is necessary when reviewing any movie; most especially when the film is a un- rated independent film like Urban Hymn.  Thanks to my partnership with Level 33 Entertainment, I received a complimentary early screener copy of Urban Hymn to facilitate today’s review. No further compensation was provided. All opinions are my own.

Urban Hymn film review

About Urban Hymn:

“Urban Hymn follows a troubled teenage girl, Jamie, who possesses an amazing singing voice, and an inspiring and unconventional social worker, Kate, who encourages her to use it.”

Written by: Nick Moorcroft - Directed By: Michael Caton-Jones – Produced By: Andrew Berg, Neil Chordia, John Sachs and Daniel Toland


Shirley Henderson (Harry Potter fans know her as Moaning Myrtle),  Steven Mackintosh, Ian Hart,  Shaun Parkes, Letitia Wright, Caroline O’Neill, Isabella Laughland, Jack McMullen, Katie Redford

Urban Hymn movie review

As I mentioned earlier, I had an open mind, along with a fair amount high hopes for this film especially when I saw all the film festival awards Urban Film has already won. 


  • OFFICIAL SELECTION - Toronto International Film Festival
  • OFFICIAL SELECTION - Busan International Film Festival
  • WINNER Audience Award - International Young Audience Film Festival
  • WINNER Organizer’s Prize - International Young Audience Film Festival
  • WINNER Golden Gryphon Generator +18 - Giffoni Film Festival

My Thoughts:

Raw, edgy, real.  Within the first three minutes of Urban Hymn I was questioning what I was getting ready to allow my 14 and 18 year old daughter to watch. There is language and scenes that depict inner city streets and inner city teens running amuck.  

Questions like should I turn this off? Should I watch it by myself?  ran through my head and straight out of my mouth, but we all agreed to watch the film to see where it led. I agreed because, folks, you can’t keep your teens in a bubble forever. Who better for them to see this side of life than with their mom?

Urban Hymn, classified as an Independent drama, music film is just that, full of drama and music and feels. Lots and lots of feels!  Yes, it is a coming of age film, but don’t expect Breakfast Club or even Mean Girls vibes.  

This film takes you right in to the world of some seriously troubled youth living at a home for wayward children. Beyond the hitting, smoking, yelling, drinking, sex, drugs, and loud club music, we meet Jamie, (played by Letitia Wright) who loves to sing along to her dead mom’s old soul and blues record collection, (the only thing she had from her mom, who died when Jamie was just 6). And her partner in crime (literally) and best friend Leanne, (played by Isabella Laughland) who has one bad temper and a possessive streak when it comes to Jamie. That temper which morphs into crazy rages is unleashed on anyone who Leanne feels wrongs her or Jamie, including new case worker Kate.

As the film progresses you find yourself understanding that all of the main characters are hurting and broken in their own way. Kate (played by Shirley Henderson) sees Jamie’s talent and offers a helping hand and in so doing, changes the course of all of their lives. Kate is trying to help and forget, Jamie is trying to change while not losing sight of where she comes from, and Leann, well, she is simply trying to survive. If I had to rate this movie, I would give it an R rating.

 Here is a trailer for you. 

Urban Hymn opened in theaters and on demand 5/12/17. You can learn more about the movie by visiting Urban Hymn on Facebook here  and by following Level 33 Entertainment on Twitter here.

My Take Away: 

This is a gritty, powerful film that will have you feeling multiple emotions and deals with very real life and death situations, so I wouldn’t suggest you going to the theater or streaming it if you are not in an emotionally good place.  

Urban Hymn movie review

If you are ready believe in human kindness, cry at life’s unfairness and rejoice with a choir of signers, go see this movie!  I’m so glad we got to watch it. The acting was superb and they truly brought their characters to life!  It is hard to end of film on a happy and sad note all at once, but Urban Hymn does just that. 

Please share in comments: What was the last Independent film you watched? What drew you to it?
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