'The Prom': A Celebration of Youth and Acceptance [Review]
Obviously a big-budget, flashy film adaption of Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin’s Broadway musical is never going to be as disruptive or as comical as most other musicals, but one of the good things about The Prom is that it never intends to be like that. It fully embraces the cheesy, unreasonable genre conventions of a movie musical in a confident way, a trait that most other current films of its type try to avoid. With a star-studded cast and thrilling dance numbers, this film is a pure feel-good crowd pleaser where excitement and compassion rise above all.
Set in the town of Indiana, The Prom follows four eccentric Broadway stars who are desperately in need for a new stage upon which they can shine bright once more after their show proves to be unpopular among critics. Through social media, they hear about a local girl, Emma Nolan who wants to take her girlfriend to prom but the homophobic PTA are on a mission to keep the high school dance only for straight students. Determined to transform their lives and put themselves back in the limelight, the Broadway celebrities hatch a scheme to change the town and give Emma the prom she deserves.
Everyone in the cast gives brilliant performances; even James Corden, who seems a bit clumsy at first but quickly becomes the most crowd-pleasing character by the film's end. It's a pleasure to see all these well-known actors including Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Andrew Rannells in the comedy department, especially during their delightful song and dance sequences.
The real enjoyment, however, and the best performances are provided by the younger members of the cast. The two teenage girls in the film, Emma (Jo Ellen Pellman) and Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) are filled with a radiating energy that reaches through the screen and enthralls the viewer. Both of them have that instant star quality, an inescapable charm. The way their relationship is portrayed through the harsh realities of life around them is absolutely adorable and extremely relatable for LGBTQ audiences. Both display astounding singing skills, while Pellman carries the entire movie on her back, becoming the heart and soul of the film.
All in all, The Prom has nothing much to offer besides two hours of entertainment and escapism, but it ends up achieving its goal in a decent way, which is to remind audiences of the importance of accepting everyone regardless of their sexual preference. It is a pure joy to watch from beginning to end. Yes, it is a musical and yes, it's cheesy, but one the audience is sold on from the very moment the film starts and cannot help but be sucked in by.
The Prom debuts on Netflix on December 11th.