The Prom Movie Review & Film Summary: Ryan Murphy’s Musical

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Video Source – Netflix (Netflix YouTube Channel)

The Prom is a 2020 American musical comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted to the screen by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, from their and Matthew Sklar’s 2018 Broadway musical of the same name.

The film stars Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Andrew Rannells, Ariana DeBose, Tracey Ullman, Kevin Chamberlin, Mary Kay Place, Kerry Washington, and Jo Ellen Pellman.

The Prom Film Cast

  • Meryl Streep as Dee Dee Allen.
  • James Corden as Barry Glickman.
  • Jo Ellen Pellman as Emma Nolan.
  • Nicole Kidman as Angie Dickinson.
  • Keegan-Michael Key as Tom Hawkins.
  • Andrew Rannells as Trent Oliver.
  • Ariana DeBose as Alyssa Greene.
  • Kerry Washington as Mrs. Greene.
  • Kevin Chamberlin as Sheldon Saperstein.
  • Logan Riley Hassel as Kaylee.
  • Sofia Deler as Shelby.
  • Nathaniel J. Potvin as Kevin.
  • Nico Greetham as Nick.
  • Mary Kay Place as Grandma Bea, Emma’s grandmother.
  • Tracey Ullman as Vera Glickman.

The Prom Movie Plot

Down-on-their-luck Broadway stars shake up a small Indiana town as they rally behind a teen who wants to go to the prom with her girlfriend.

The Prom Movie Review

The Prom is a 2020 American musical comedy film directed by Ryan Murphy and adapted to the screen by Chad Beguelin and Bob Martin, from their and Matthew Sklar’s 2018 Broadway musical of the same name.

A girl from Indiana Emma Nolan who is a lesbian, wants to take her girlfriend to prom but the head of the Edgewater High School PTA, Mrs. Greene, announces to reporters that the school’s prom will be cancelled because students are allowed to take only the opposite sex to prom.

Cut to the scene in New York City where narcissistic Broadway stars Dee Dee Allen and Barry Glickman are excited about the opening night of their new show Eleanor: The Eleanor Roosevelt Musical.

Though their joy is cut short when their publicist, tells them that the show received an awful review from The New York Times. They are comforted by Trent Olive, Julliard graduate, and Angie Dickinson chorus girl who has just quit her job in Chicago because they never let her play Roxie Hart. They all realize that Dee Dee and Barry need a cause to seem caring and selfless.

Angie finds Emma’s story on Twitter and the five decide to drive to Edgewater with the non-equity touring cast of Godspell to fight the PTA and improve their self-images.

At school, Emma is bullied and harassed for being lesbian and for the cancellation of the prom. The five Broadway actors barge into the next PTA meeting and perform a large musical number. While Mrs. Greene is furious over the incident.

Emma when she was 16 was kicked out by her parents because she came out and that is why is now living with her grandmother. Well but then we already know how this ends, Emma Nolan then gets the courage to build her own prom, her secret girlfriend who is the PTA’s daughter Alyssa Greene comes out.

Emma gets her prom and it was only possible because of her principal, Dee Dee Allen, Barry Glickman, Trent Olive and Angie Dickinson. Ignoring all the hate this film gets , we really appreciate the Cinematography, all the colors and glitters and everything. 

James Corden and Meryl Streep in a still from The Prom

The Prom Film Track Listing

  • “Changing Lives” – Barry, Dee Dee, Ensemble
  • “Changing Lives (Reprise)” – Barry, Dee Dee, Trent and Angie
  • “Just Breathe” – Emma
  • “It’s Not About Me” – Dee Dee, Barry, Trent, Angie, Tom, Mrs. Greene, Ensemble
  • “Dance with You” – Emma, Alyssa
  • “The Acceptance Song” – Trent, Ensemble
  • “You Happened” – Nick, Kevin, Emma, Alyssa, Ensemble
  • “We Look to You” – Tom
  • “Tonight Belongs to You” – Barry, Emma, Shelby, Kaylee, Mrs. Greene, Ensemble
  • “Tonight Belongs to You (Reprise)” – Emma
  • “Zazz” – Angie, Emma
  • “The Lady’s Improving” – Dee Dee, Ensemble
  • “Alyssa Greene” – Alyssa
  • “Love Thy Neighbor” – Trent, Shelby, Kevin, Nick, Kaylee, Ensemble
  • “Barry Is Going to Prom” – Barry
  • “Unruly Heart” – Emma, Ensemble
  • “It’s Time to Dance” – Emma, Alyssa, Barry, Dee Dee, Trent, Angie, Tom, Sheldon, Ensemble
  • “Wear Your Crown” (end credits) – Ariana DeBose, Jo Ellen Pellman, Kerry Washington, Nicole Kidman, Meryl Streep
  • “Simply Love” (end credits) – James Corden

The Prom Film Critical Reception

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film has an approval rating of 62% based on 137 reviews, with an average rating of 6.00/10. The website’s critics consensus reads: “Through fiery songs and dance breaks, The Prom’s bonanza of glitz, glitter, and jazz hands might be enough to whisk audiences away.”

On Metacritic, the film has an average score of 56 out of 100, based on 29 critics, indicating “mixed or average reviews”.

Peter Bradshaw of The Guardian gave the film four out of five stars, writing that it is “so goofy that you just have to enjoy it”. He went on to praise the musical numbers and the film’s message of self-love.

Brian Pruitt of USA Today also gave the film four stars out of four, calling it was a “joyous adaptation”. Conversely, Mary Sollosi of Entertainment Weekly gave the film a “D” grade calling it “narratively sloppy, emotionally false, visually ugly, morally superior, and at least 15 minutes too long”.

Jesse Hassenger of The A.V. Club gave the film a “D+” describing it as “all-star, feel-good, zazzy nonsense”.

The Movie Culture Synopsis

CNN notes the film project is on “theme with Murphy’s advocacy for more inclusivity in Hollywood” including his spearheading the 2017 Half Initiative, to “create equal representation for women and minorities behind the camera”.

Murphy announced plans for the adaptation during a charity performance of the musical at New York’s Longacre Theatre in April 2019. Ariana Grande was initially cast as Alyssa Greene, a popular but closeted cheerleader and Emma’s girlfriend, but scheduling conflicts with the Sweetener World Tour forced Grande to drop out. 

The Prom was released in a limited release on December 4, 2020, prior to digital streaming on Netflix on December 11, 2020.