The Prom: Netflix’s Campy New Film

Giuliana Carmen, US News Department Co-Editor

Warning: the review below contains spoilers. 

Live from Netflix this December, The Prom emerged onto the queue of the top 10 programs in the U.S. shortly after its debut. Directed by esteemed producer Ryan Murphy, known for his campy long-running show Glee and the frightening American Horror Story, The Prom fell nothing short of a typical Netflix original. The show stars Hollywood royalty Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman alongside The Late Late Show host James Cordon. For a cast this universally admired, the film received alarmingly low ratings, with a mere 57% approval rating from Rotten Tomatoes and a 2.7 out of 5 star average on the film aficionado-dominated app Letterboxd.

The Prom is based on the original musical by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, which debuted back in 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. The musical seemingly fit Netflix’s standard movie plot, in which the protagonist defies all odds and ultimately wings at the end. The plot of the story is that an upperclassman, Emma, a lesbian, requests that she take her girlfriend Alyssa to the school prom. The homophobic PTA forbids her and ends up canceling the prom. When a group of broadway burnouts hears of this news-making story, they immediately head to her town to help her fight against homophobia (and get themselves a little media attention, too). The biggest plot twist is that the head of the PTA’s daughter is Alyssa. The broadway stars end up taking the small conservative town by storm with their campy personalities. In the end, all goes well for Emma and Alyssa, even after a few bumps in the road.

I personally loved the plot of this movie; it’s so important for more LGBTQ+ representation in the media. The lighthearted musical style was the perfect way to end this year. However, I believe Netflix could have written the movie a bit better as their movies geared towards teenagers tend to be both predictable and repetitive. I’ve noticed this pattern in the famously terrible Kissing Booth and in To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. These movies and The Promhave plots with a lot of potential but poor execution. 

I adored the over-the-top attitudes of Meryl Streep and Nicole Kidman’s characters, Angie and Dee Dee. They are a powerful acting duo as we’ve seen in the hit HBO show (and my personal favorite) Big Little Lies. 

I would give this movie overall a 3.5/5, it was a little long but nevertheless a cheerful, heartwarming film. I hope to see Netflix produce more LGBTQ+ movies in the years to come but with better writing next time!

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