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Movie Review

Big band music and wild dance moves are just the seasoning here, not the food. Set in WWII Germany, Swing Kids focuses on members of an apolitical movement (devoted to jazz music and swing dancing) as they face increasing pressure to join the ranks of Hitler's goose-stepping youth. Swing Kids has a lot to say to young viewers about hypocrisy, anti-Semitism, the dangers of compromise, the seductiveness of propaganda and the importance of standing firm for one's beliefs.

These lessons unfold as a tightly knit group of boys is slowly torn apart. Rivals become friends. Friends become traitors. Confused, these young men struggle to know their own hearts and reconcile loyalties. A pivotal line warns, "It's better to know what you're agreeing to before you become part of something." Very true.

Sadly, these conflicted teens also swear, urinate in public, peer at photos of nude women, bloody each other in fistfights and talk of hiring prostitutes. One even commits suicide by slashing his wrists with a broken record.

Swing Kids is not a great film, but it has great moments. In fact, many principles could apply to Christians striving to be salt and light in a hostile culture. But socially conscious jumping, jiving and wailing aside, the film's objectionable content will step on the toes of discerning families.

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