And The Beat Goes On: The Sonny and Cher Story (1999)

Made shortly after Sonny Bono’s death, this biopic is based on his autobiography. As such, it tells his version of the couple’s relationship, portraying him as the real genius behind their success. Though Cher receives a less sympathetic treatment, she does prevail on at least one count – Renee Faia’s depiction of her is far more successful than Jay Underwood’s performance as Sonny Bono.

 

Faia captures Cher’s voice and mannerisms from the get go, and though her depiction of Cher’s self-confidence expectedly changes as she matures, her smart-mouthed attitude remains a constant source of entertainment throughout. And when she sings in the studio for the first time (with a voice supplied by Kelly van Hoose Smith) the transformation is complete. Jay Underwood, on the other hand, never manages to sound like Sonny, and his constant stammering makes him appear less like a lovable goofball and more like an idiot.

 

Which he most certainly wasn’t, at least professionally. In his personal relationship, Sonny’s inability to see Cher’s growing discontentment with ‘Sonny & Cher - the act’ encroaching on Sonny and Cher the couple, leads to their eventual split. Yet even towards the end of this film he confesses that he still doesn’t know where he went wrong.

 

The biopic ends where it started, on David Letterman’s talk show. Five months later Cher won the Best Actress Oscar for Moonstruck (1987), while Sonny pursued a different avenue of showbiz  - politics. 

cast, Jay Underwood, Sonny Bono, Renee Faia, Cher
Jay Underwood
Jay Underwood

as Sonny Bono

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Renee Faia
Renee Faia

as Cher

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Mahryah Shain
Mahryah Shain

as David Geffen

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Walter Franks
Walter Franks

as Little Richard

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Biopic suggests Sonny was unsuccessful until he teamed up with Cher, whereas he had already written such pop classics as “Needles and Pins’ and “Things You Do to Me" 

 

None of Cher's solo hits during her time with Sonny are featured, including "Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down)" and "Gypsys, Tramps & Thieves". 

 

Biopic features a heavily pregnant Cher getting married to Sonny. The two were actually wed after their child was born.

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Sonny & Cher made two films together; Good Times in which they co-starred and Chastity, which was written by Sonny and Cher starred in. Only the making of Chastity is covered in this biopic, with no scene recreations depicted.  Segments of their successful TV show The 'Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour' are however faithfully recreated.  Also depicted are their Las Vegas act and this performance on the musical variety television show 'Shindig'.

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