“The Prom” Review

By: Sarah Brill  |  February 13, 2021

By Sarah Brill Science and Technology Editor

This review contains spoilers.

“The Prom”, a Broadway musical made movie in 2020, emulates the epitome of a homophobic small town in the middle of nowhere, Indiana. Full of musical numbers, motivating speeches, and references only your grandmother will get. This movie combines cringy teenager drama with topical issues such as acceptance and love. 

The movie-musical starts off showcasing the problem at hand: Emma Nolan (Jo Ellen Pellman), a gay teenager living in rural Indiana, is prevented from attending prom with her girlfriend. Emma and Principle Tom Hawkins (Keegan Michael-Key) are stuck fighting Mrs. Greene (Kerry Washington) who heads the PTA and is mom of Alyssa Greene (Ariana DeBose), who we soon find out is Emma’s girlfriend. 

Meanwhile, in New York City, egotistical broadway actors and actresses are looking for a lost cause to boost their morale and popularity. These four self-centered starstruck celebrities head down to Indiana, and, through a series of musical numbers, props, and lights, end up helping Emma step into her own spotlight. With quite a few hiccups along the way, these down-on-their-luck Broadway stars help Emma get the prom she deserves. 

The downfall in this truly brilliant film production was Barry Glickman, played by late night talk-show host James Cordon. Barry is a gay man attempting to not only help Emma through her downfalls and setbacks, but to also reestblish and enhance his relationship with his mother after hearing that Emma has no relationship with hers because she is gay. The character Barry is unproblematic, however, the actor James Cordon who is a straight man is. The movie is trying to establish the fact that the LGBTQ+ community is continually oppressed, but then they juxtaposed this oppression and struggle with a straight male character portraying something he himself has never gone through. There are many gay singers who have been on an off Broadway who could have casted, making the fact that the organization chose a straight male problematic. 

Regardless of this setback, “The Prom” shines a light on those teenage boys or girls or gender non-binary people in a forgotton town in the middle of the country who are hiding in their closet afraid to show their true selves to the world. “The Prom” shows that anything is possible. Turning an entire town on your side is slightly unrealistic but nonetheless, it gives voice to those who struggle and fight to show their identity on a day-to-day basis.