I love movie musicals. I grew up obsessed with The Wizard of Oz and Singin’ in the Rain, loving to get that taste of musical theater right in my own home. I am thrilled that September 2021 has brought so many new movie musicals to the big (and small) screen.
- Release Date: 9/3/21
- Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
- Starring: Camilla Cabello, Billy Porter, Nicholas Galitzine, Idina Menzel, Minnie Driver, Pierce Brosnan
- Summary: A modern movie musical with a bold take on the classic fairy tale. Our ambitious heroine has big dreams and with the help of her fab Godmother, she perseveres to make them come true.
- Rating: ★★
- My thoughts: There are so many versions of Cinderella that I love: the 1950 Disney Movie, the Rodgers and Hammerstein Musical, the 2015 Disney live action. I wanted to love this one too. I will say that I had fun while I was watching this movie, but I found it empty. Camilla Cabello’s voice was heavily autotuned, which became distracting very quickly. Having Idina Menzel as the stepmother sing Madonna’s “Material Girl” felt a little too obvious. It was clear the writers tried to update the story by positioning Cinderella as an advocate for women’s rights and an aspiring businesswoman. However, that message didn’t end up having the pay off that I was hoping for.
Come from Away
- Release Date: 9/10/21
- Where to Watch: Apple TV +
- Starring: Jenn Collela, Sharon Wheatley, Petrina Bromley, Caesar Samayoa, Joel Hatch, Emily Walton, Jim Walton, Paul Whitty, Tony LePage, De’Lon Grant, Jim Walton, Astrid Von Wieren
- Summary: 7,000 passengers are stranded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in a small town in Newfoundland, where they were housed and welcomed. Filmed live on stage at the Gerald Schoenfeld Theater in New York City.
- Rating: ★★★★★
- My thoughts: I love Come from Away, and I’ve seen it live on Broadway several times. It has a beautiful message about kindness in the face of global trauma, which certainly resonated in the current climate. The live capture of the stage show was able to bring a sense of intimacy to Come from Away that was appropriate for the tone of the show. The performances and energy of the show burst through the screen. I appreciated that I could see the costume changes that happen onstage clearly in the filmed version; I felt like I was being let in on the stage magic. Come From Away manages to be both funny and devastating and balances both so well. I am ready to go back to to Schoenfeld Theater to see the show live again.
Everybody’s Talking about Jamie
- Release Date: 9/17/21
- Where to Watch: Amazon Prime
- Starring: Max Harwood, Richard E. Grant, Lauren Patel, Sarah Lancashire
- Summary: Feature film adaptation of the musical about a teenager from Sheffield, England who wants to be a drag queen.
- Rating: ★★★★
- My Thoughts: Everybody’s Talking about Jamie feels like the child of Kinky Boots and The Prom, and I love both of those musicals. I had heard a lot about the musical coming out of London, and I was thrilled when I heard a movie adaptation was being made. The story is moving and inspiring, and Max Harwood’s winning performance made it easy to root for Jamie. I also fell in love with Lauren Patel as Jamie’s friend, Pritti, who encourages Jamie to show the world his true self. The deteroration of Jamie’s relationship with his father who wants nothing to do with him is absolutely devastating, even more so because it is based on a true story. Much of the score is upbeat and fun, but the songs didn’t stick with me after the first viewing. I am so glad this story is being told on a platform like Amazon Prime, and I hope to see the musical live soon.
Dear Evan Hansen
- Release Date: 9/24/21
- Where to Watch: Theaters
- Starring: Ben Platt, Amy Adams, Julianne Moore, Kaitlyn Deaver, Colton Ryan, Amandla Sternberg, Danny Pino
- Summary: Film adaptation of the Tony and Grammy Award-winning musical about Evan Hansen, a high school senior with Social Anxiety disorder and his journey of self-discovery and acceptance following the suicide of a fellow classmate.
- Rating: ★★★
- My thoughts: Let me start by saying that Evan Hansen is a fundamentally unredeemable character. He deceives the grieving family of a classmate, which is unforgivable no matter what his intentions are. I did appreciate that Evan takes more accountability for his actions in the movie than in the musical, but it is far from enough. Because I know the musical so well, I went into the film not expecting to sympathize with Evan, which allowed me to focus on the emotional journey of the other characters. My favorite part of the musical has always been the way it portrays mothers of teenagers, and I was sad to see the roles of Heidi Hansen and Cynthia Murphy diminished in the film (especially because Julianne Moore and Amy Adams are so good in the roles). I will also say that I have yet to hear “You will Be Found” without crying.
I am looking forward to watching Diana on Netflix next week and to seeing West Side Story in December. Keep the movie musicals coming!