Criticism | ‘The Graduation Party’ is an overdose of glitter and music that stumbles halfway

When you think of creative prolificacy, there’s no name like Ryan Murphy to perfectly wear these shoes. Murphy is just the creator of one of the most famous anthologies of all time, “ American Horror Story, ” as well as several other productions that have fallen into popular taste – including the spin-off ‘ ‘American Crime Story’, the beloved musical series ‘Glee’ and the LGBTQ + drama ‘Pose’ (one of the best productions of decades). Now, after partnering with Netflix, Murphy has produced a number of original content that, for better or worse, has helped further popularize his unique art style – including the midsize series ‘The Politician’ and the visually stunning “ Ratched ”. ‘, a spin-off of’ Stranger in the Nest ‘with Sarah Paulson.

After offering his own take on the ‘The Boys in the Band’ remake – a reinterpretation solid enough to keep us stuck from start to finish – it was time for Murphy to bet more chips in his theatrical veins with the adaptation of the musical “The Prom”, which received the title “The Graduation Party”. Returning to exploring the necessary queer representativeness in the mainstream scene, the director opened the door for a story that centers on a young lesbian girl barred from attending her high school prom because of her sexual orientation – a event that catches the attention of Broadway stars in the decadence of trying to overturn the decision of the Parent and Teacher Committee and give him what he deserves and is entitled to.

In general, the feature film is very striking, especially since it is not exactly set in a single historical period, but rather extended to the ongoing struggle of the LGBTQ + community for acceptance and respect in a world. more and more backward. Pairing up with the explosive photography of Matthew Libatique (“ A Star Is Born ”) and the brilliant costumes created by Lou Eyrich, Murphy designs an adorable plot in all its aspects, but one that stumbles along the way to a stretch without ending and a few acts that could be cut without affecting the messages of peace and empathy they give off as we reach act three. In other words, the stunning look ends up serving as a mask for several misunderstandings that come together in an uncontrollable snowball.

Murphy finds fertile ground to play with his delightfully affected forays we know so much about from previous attacks, especially having left the script to the original play’s writers, Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin, and the soundtrack edited by Matthew Sklar. , providing Broadway Scenes and their influences from “Chicago” and “Nine”. More than that, the cast, guided by the flawless performances of Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman and Kerry Washington, make the most of an unfortunate linearity and lack of audacity that is a forgotten entry in the vast catalog of the career of the filmmaker.

Enjoy watching:

THE PROM (L to R) ANDREW RANNELLS as TRENT OLIVER, KERRY WASHINGTON as MRS. GREENE, MERYL STREEP as DEE DEE ALLEN, JO ELLEN PELLMAN as EMMA, JAMES CORDEN as BARRY GLICKMAN in THE PROM. Cr. MELINDA SUE GORDON / NETFLIX © 2020

Streep brings Dee Dee Allen to life, a veteran of the New York scene who, after suffering a big disappointment on her final debut, joins Barry Glickman (James Corden) in re-evaluating the way the media sees them – a pair of artists narcissistic and unworthy of public support – and finding a way to do any social service in return for “good publicity.” Accompanying them to a small town in Indiana are also the happy and troubled Angie Dickinson (Kidman) and self-centered Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells in one of his best performances to date) – and the unlikely quartet continues to march with a chorus of the piece. “Godspell” to enter traditional James Madison College and help Emma (played by newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman) stand up.

As a comedy, Streep and Corden feed off spectacular chemistry and irreverent dialogue that doesn’t think twice before shocking viewers with the evil crudeness and twisted egolatry that eventually emerge as the basis for complex and traumatized personalities. However, when the mood begins to pull together in a tour de force drama, things go wrong and seem to stain a subtle, familiar structure with dated symbologies, wanting to offer more than it really does. The melodrama essentially works when the antagonist played by Washington, Ms. Greene, undergoes a profound transformation, showing herself as a religious vixen who clashes with her own beliefs when she realizes that her daughter, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose) is all that he once condemned.

I’m sure Sklar’s exuberant songs really do work in the theatrical realm, but even here the most interesting tracks indulge in the more classic of progressions and repetitive sonic recycling that ultimately keeps them from talking about themselves. themselves. . We have the brief exceptions of “Changing Lives”, the “Zazz” Ditch, and even the evangelical foray of “Love Thy Neighbor”. The intrinsic problem occurs in eerie discomfort and almost robotic movements on the part of the cast, sometimes lacking the long-awaited musical naturalness.

“The Graduation Party” is guaranteed fun, we can’t deny that. As you break away from deep explorations and cast aside presumptions – specifically with the grand finale looming – we have a story that celebrates life and celebrates the love of who we really are. The glitter and joy overdose may even work, but it is far from exploring the full potential it hides.

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