The Prom review: a gleeful musical that's not without its setbacks

Arnojya Shree discusses the successes and drawbacks of Netflix's controversial Broadway adaptation, The Prom

Arnojya Shree
15th December 2020
Releasing musicals with Meryl Streep is, I feel, a strategy to get me to like the genre and, it works, temporarily. Ryan Murphy's latest The Prom arrived on Netflix on Friday and attracted very mixed reviews to it. Mine is no different either.

The musical, with its star-studded cast, maintains an entertaining, light-hearted charm throughout its course. Even though it isn't on par with the classics, the film enjoys its quirks and flaws too innocently to be criticized.

Out-of-date Broadway stars, Dee Dee Allen and Barry, feel defeated after the failure of their new show and are joined by their fellow mates Angie and Trent, who are dealing with casting problems on their own. Ready to reinvent their public reputation, the four stars decide to take up a cause close to their reach.

Image: YouTube

The cause being, Emma, a teenage girl from Indiana who asked her girlfriend to prom, but the PTA dismiss her request and choose to cancel the dance instead. Joining Emma and her Principal Mr Hawkins, in the fight against a homophobic town, the stars begin to trace back to their own injustices and decide to make Emma's win their own.

The musical is based on the original Broadway show by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin. With an overly indulgent glamorous, cliché and narcissistic tone to it, the film at times fails to highlight the seriousness of the very cause it stands up for. But at the same, with a lack of cheerful and happy queer films, it also sets an example for others to follow.

[E]very song is such a sing-along that it seems to be the best in the movie until another one comes along

LGBTQ+ films have formed a norm of always immersing their storyline in a sad and heart-breaking colour, which becomes an equivalent of typecasting in its own way. The Prom with its extravagance and corny direction, mirroring Murphy's previous show Glee brings a fresh contrast and challenges the outdated themes of Queer cinema.

Image: YouTube

Beyond those profound observations, the cast is as delightful as it gets but also, at times, falls into an awkward stance, making you question the equations and the casting choices. The songs straightaway reminded me of Mamma Mia (2008), but maybe that's just Streep's charm which overshadows every other element and person in the film.

Moreover, every song is such a sing-along that it seems to be the best in the movie until another one comes along. So, if you're looking for something heartfelt and emotional to mellow your week's stress away, The Prom is the perfect film to sit and have hot cocoa with!

Rating: 4/5

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