Director: Ryan Murphy
Screenwriters: Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin
Cast: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Kerry Washington, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Jo Ellen Pellman, Ariana DeBose
Ryan Murphy granted the world a truly delightful 2 hour and 10 minute film. As someone who undeniably and unashamedly loves musicals, I can say that this cinematic expression of the Broadway show written by Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin and Matthew Skylar is completely quirky and chaotic in all the best ways. The film also stars my two queens, Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman, so undoubtedly, I was obsessed. This film also can’t help but showcase the light James Corden and Keegan-Michael Key add to a screen. The amount of “extra” this film is is no surprise considering Ryan Murphy is in the director’s chair. You may also know him as director and creator of “Glee”, “Scream Queens”, “American Horror Story” and “Ratched”, so the added theatrics, incredibly witty one-liners and hilarious references is nothing Murphy is new too. The film follows two Broadway stars, Dee-Dee (Meryl Streep) and Barry (James Corden) who are on their way of becoming irrelevant, Angie (Nicole Kidman), an ex-chorus girl and Trent (Andrew Rannells), an actor who hasn’t quite made it yet. This crew is in need of a career reinvention. After hearing of a gay high school girl who is not being allowed to bring her girlfriend to prom, they decide that calling out this injustice and making it right is just what will help them. What transpires through the rest of the film is nothing less than a perfect blend of cringey and amusing.
The film opens with Mrs. Greene (Kerry Washington), leading the PTA meeting as they decide on Emma’s (Jo Ellen Pellman) ability to bring her girlfriend to prom. As she asks the room “all opposed?”, there are no hands going up concluding that it was a unanimous decision amongst the parents to cancel prom all together due to them not being able to ban just Emma from prom. Watching this movie, it’s hard to believe that in modern day, this is still an issue young LGBTQ+ people still have to face considering our society has become much more open and accepting. Unfortunately, this story is based off a case from 2010. I’d like to believe with all the growth gen-z has pushed for in the past few years, that stories likes these have become much more foreign. The only adult that is for this change is the principal of the school, Tom (Keegan-Michael Key). Transitioning to Manhattan, Dee-Dee and Barry are receiving failed reviews of their newest Broadway show ridiculously based off of Elanor Roosevelt’s life – Streep as Elanor and Corden as FDR. This is where they meet up with Kidman and Rannell’s characters and conjure up the plan to save the prom and Emma. They travel to Indiana and crash another PTA meeting concerning the prom with a musical number, of course and by announcing themselves as “liberals from Broadway”. After the crew meets Emma and begin to take their own conveniences out of the situation, the story turns to one that shares love and acceptance to more characters than just one.
As the story unfolds, we watch Dee-Dee figure out how to not be so self-centered as she begins to fall for principal Tom, a straight man who also loves Broadway. As he learns that she is there for her own agenda, he hands her a reality check. Emma’s still closeted girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) learns to accept herself and who she is while also having to confront her conservative mother, Mrs. Greene who is the one not allowing this prom to go on and insisting that homosexuality is wrong. The viewers are able to see this relationship unfold and mend itself again as Washington’s character realizes that her love for her daughter prevails against any differences they have. One of the more moving storylines revolves around Corden’s character, Barry. We learn that he is on a mission to prove all those who have doubted him wrong. In a tearful dialogue performed with Steep’s character, he shares how his parents tried to take him to therapy to reverse his sexuality or they wouldn’t support him. As Dee-Dee advices him to reach out, he returns with a heartbreaking statement – “I was the kid”. As Steep consoles him, it’s easy to understand that Barry is still that kid just wanting acceptance and love from his parents. At the end of the film, he is able to reconnect with his mother who admits to being wrong and greatly sorry. The film ends with the students finally able to have their all-inclusive prom and a fabulous large group number – obviously.
“The Prom” can be found on Netflix. The film has already picked up multiple award nominations. The Golden Globes has nominated the film for Best motion Picture and James Corden for Best Actor. The Satellite Awards has nominated Meryl Streep for Best Actress, Nicole Kidman for Best Supporting Actress, Best Art Direction and Production Design and Best Sound (Editing and Mixing). The GLAAD Media Awards has nominated it for Outstanding Film.