Much like herpes, there appears no cure for the constant barrage of dull fodder served up by director Ryan Murphy, at first when I watched The Prom (I’ll admit, I lasted less than five minutes) I was wondering, what the fuck is this? But when I learnt who had directed, the penny dropped Ryan… Fucking… Murphy… I feel like someone needs to give this guy a hug and tell him it’s ok to take a break, if not for himself, then for everyone else’s sanity. 

Personal disdain for the director aside, there begs many more serious questions, namely James Corden doing a disservice to gay men the world over with his over the top, limp wristed caricature that sets the gay lib movement back at least four decades. With all the talk around representation that has come out of this year, seriously could the role not have gone to an actual gay actor. I know, in 2020 this is SUCH a ground-breaking idea, isn’t it?

If only the issues stopped there, for the rest of the cast are simply unlikeable, Meryl Streep seems hell bent on channelling her inner Miranda. While that may have sat well in The Devil Wears Prada, here her characters nastiness falls flat. Her character’s need to find a cause to invest in, comes off as little more than a tagline for the rest of the movie and its blood lust for the lucrative pink dollar.

Musically, the score is diabolically cheesy, and I’ve seen more talented (and less messy) choreography come out of a primary school eisteddfod.

 And was it just me or did anyone else have a craving for Haagen-Dazs ice-cream after watching Nicole Kidman and that forgettable lead actress demolish a whole tub of cookies and cream in a moment of possibly the worst product placement ever.

If there was a cinematic metaphor for the smouldering trash fire that has been 2020, then The Prom would be it.

Above opinion by Jessi Lewis

Below opinion by Shibu Thomas

Hollywood Christmas movies have traditionally been cheesy reworkings of medieval morality plays and the battle between good and evil. When it comes to love, it is the heterosexual ideal that these movies have promoted.

In 2003, I remember watching Love Actually wondering why the film’s makers could not have featured a same-sex love story in its multitude of plots and subplots. Just under two decades later, The Prom reverses that Holiday-movie template for a lesbian love story set in an American high school in the midwestern United States.

Ryan Murphy can be blamed for many things, but not for playing down gay romances. The Prom’s central premise is about a lesbian student who is banned from bringing her same-sex girlfriend to the prom. The movie never lets you forget that this is the gay holiday movie that you never asked for!

 Jo Ellen Pellman does full justice to her breakout role and is utterly believable as the lesbian teenager, aptly named Ellen, fighting off bigotry, homophobia and her school’s unjust decision. You can’t help but root for her to succeed in her plans to have an inclusive prom.

Ariana DeBose plays her girlfriend Alyssa, who is caught between two strong women – her mother (the amazing Kerry Washington) intent on being the Grinch who stole the prom and Ellen, who will not let homophobia win.

The ageing Broadway stars who arrive in Indiana to rescue Ellen, include Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman – cast perhaps just to satisfy the gays, do not disappoint in their show stopping numbers. Andrew Rannels is not someone you will remember after the movie. 

The casting of James Corden is the most controversial, and there is no reason why the role should have been played by a straight actor acting ‘gay’. Of all of The Prom’s crimes, this is the one that appears unforgivable.

On the other hand there is much to love if you, like me, are willing to forgive the many flaws of a good holiday movie. It checks a lot of boxes – it is cheesy and funny in parts, does not take itself too seriously, the song-and-dance numbers are perfectly executed, the score has a catchy, infectious energy to them. If only, the movie had less of James Corden and more of the Pellman-DeBose love story!

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