Review Roundup: THE PROM on Netflix, Starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Ariana DeBose & More!

See what the critics are saying about the Netflix adaptation of the Broadway musical, arriving December 11th.

By: Dec. 01, 2020
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Review Roundup: THE PROM on Netflix, Starring Meryl Streep, Nicole Kidman, Ariana DeBose & More!

"The Prom" is coming to Netflix, and the first review is in!

The feel good Broadway musical, adapted for the screen, will arrive on December 11th. Find out what the critics had to say about the Ryan Murphy-helmed film, starring Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Kerry Washington, Ariana DeBose, Andrew Rannells, and Jo Ellen Pellman, below!

Check back later today and tomorrow for an updated list of reviews.

Dee Dee Allen (three-time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep) and Barry Glickman (Tony Award winner James Corden) are New York City stage stars with a crisis on their hands: their expensive new Broadway show is a major flop that has suddenly flatlined their careers. Meanwhile, in small-town Indiana, high school student Emma Nolan (newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman) is experiencing a very different kind of heartbreak: despite the support of the high school principal (Keegan-Michael Key), the head of the PTA (Kerry Washington) has banned her from attending the prom with her girlfriend, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose).

When Dee Dee and Barry decide that Emma's predicament is the perfect cause to help resurrect their public images, they hit the road with Angie (Academy Award winner Nicole Kidman) and Trent (Andrew Rannells), another pair of cynical actors looking for a professional lift. But when their self-absorbed celebrity activism unexpectedly backfires, the foursome find their own lives upended as they rally to give Emma a night where she can truly celebrate who she is.

Directed by Ryan Murphy and also starring Tracey Ullman, Kevin Chamberlin, Mary Kay Place,Nico Greetham Logan Riley, Nathaniel J. Potvin and Sofia Deler, The Prom is the spectacular, big-hearted film adaptation of Chad Beguelin, Bob Martin and Matthew Sklar's award-winning, Tony-nominated Broadway musical. Screenplay by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin; the film is produced by Ryan Murphy, Alexis Martin Woodall, Adam Anders, Dori Berinstein and Bill Damaschke.

The critics have spoken...

David Clarke, BroadwayWorld: "From the first vibrantly hued and highly saturated camera pan over a PTA meeting to the final dazzling, confetti soaked shots of a prom for everyone, there is absolutely no question that THE PROM is large-scale Hollywood musical. Helming the project as Director and a producer, Ryan Murphy captures the engaging ebullience of the original Broadway production and folds in all the glitz and pizzaz the film medium can offer to make this version of THE PROM a kaleidoscope of color, sequins, glitter, and more."

Jude Dry, IndieWire: "Aside from its impassioned overtures for LGBTQ+ rights, "The Prom" has all the makings of a classic Hollywood musical: Haughty urbanites descend reluctantly on a small provincial town seeking validation and instead find love, connection, and renewed life's purpose. It's like if the strivers from "The Philadelphia Story" went to Allentown to help Peggy Sawyer find her way to "42nd Street." And it's exactly the kind of feel-good entertainment we needed this year."

Owen Gleiberman, Variety: "There's no denying that "The Prom," like "Glee" and the "High School Musical" films, is on some level a knowingly assembled package of shiny happy film-musical clichés. Yet Murphy, working with the cinematographer Matthew Libatíque, gives the movie an intoxicating visual sweep, and there's a beguiling wit to the dialogue."

Sean P. Means, The Salt Lake Tribune: "Murphy presents "The Prom" with lots of theatrical razzle-dazzle, and plenty of room for the famous faces to show off and generate some laughs. But when it counts, "The Prom's" loyalties are with its young characters, who wear their hearts on their sleeves, right next to their wrist corsages."

Josh Lezmi, Showbiz Cheat Sheet: "Yet, the intentionally over-the-top musical performances and shoulders-back dispositions do not take away from the gravity at the center - the narrative that in one scene pierces the soul and, in the next, snuggles up next to your heart. Two high school girls - one who is out of the closet and seemingly unafraid, and another who is closeted and concerned about what her mother will think- shine through."

Richard Lawson, Vanity Fair: "There's little good elsewhere in The Prom, save for newcomers Jo Ellen Pellman and Ariana DeBose as the winsome young couple at the center of the prom-troversy. They add dashes of bright theater-kid moxie to the film, conjuring up a bit of what it feels like to sit in a Broadway house and watch a bunch of lovable goobers belt their hearts out."

Kobi Kassal, Theatrely: "Meryl Streep leads the superstar cast as vain diva Dee Dee Allen. In what seems to be an almost perfect role for her, Streep deliciously delivers a lovable narcissist whose rendition of "The Lady's Improving" would warrant a standing ovation eight times a week on Broadway."

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter: "Whenever [Streep is] center-screen, this Netflix adaptation of the disarming 2018 Broadway musical sparkles with campy humor. Elsewhere, the starry casting and heavy hand of director Ryan Murphy do the featherweight material few favors, with inert dramatic scenes and overblown musical numbers contributing to the general bloat. The movie's most undeniable value is in the representation it provides to LGBTQ teens via a high school dance that is every emotionally isolated queer kid's rainbow dream."

Mary Sollosi, Entertainment Weekly: "The Prom is narratively sloppy, emotionally false, visually ugly, morally superior, and at least 15 minutes too long (a strong case can be made for 30). It has good intentions, though; or at least it wants to have good intentions. Obviously - and positively! - the film preaches tolerance and inclusion, both of which the world needs more of."

Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian: "The Prom is an outrageous work of steroidal show tune madness, directed by the dark master himself, Ryan "Glee" Murphy, who is to jazz-hands musical theatre what Nancy Meyers is to upscale romcom or Friedrich Nietzsche to classical philology."

Ben Travis, Empire: "In recent years, there's been a spate of musicals that you'll enjoy 'even if you don't like musicals', like Hamilton with its astonishing word-wizardry, or the retro-cool La La Land. The Prom is no such musical. It is intensely, unabashedly, razzlingly, dazzlingly Broadway, a musical for people who love musicals, in which many of the songs are about musicals. Anyone allergic to such things need not apply."

Tim Robey, The Telegraph: "The whole thing drips with garish insincerity and preaching to the choir. Irony of ironies, that a show about out-of-touch luvvies swanning down to wave their magic wands at red-state intolerance has become... the spitting image of that, as a home cinema offering from Murphy and team."

Lewis Knight, Mirror: "With glitz and glamour, Ryan Murphy offers a fun and lightweight musical that will certainly not win over the sort of people who detest the genre but will likely entertain those who do."

Steven Suskin, New York Stage Review: "We now, to brighten up this pandemic season, have The Prom on film. Murphy has managed to capture the outright joy that he and the show's Broadway fans embraced, magnify it several times over, and uncover the beating heart that was crusted-in the view of this playgoer-with coagulated cynicism at the Longacre. Having had little patience for the musical on stage, it is a happy and unexpected pleasure to say that this screen adaptation of The Prom is pure delight, with sequins."

Melissa Rose Bernardo, New York Stage Review: "Six seasons of Glee have served Murphy well-he knows that every song counts, and how to elevate even the smallest musical moments. Here, he turns "We Look to You," a lovely but very understated song, from a simple soliloquy by Principal Hawkins (a marvelous Key) into a rapturous ode to the transformative power of theater: The scene cuts back and forth from Applebee's-or "Apples and Bees," as Dee Dee endearingly dubs it-to Broadway, where Dee Dee is performing to packed house that includes an awe-struck Principal Hawkins."

Watch the trailer here:

Photo Credit: Melinda Sue


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