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Film / The Prom

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"We will be the biggest thing to happen in Indiana since…whatever has happened in Indiana."

The Prom is a 2020 musical comedy, and the film adaptation of the stage musical of the same name. It was directed by Ryan Murphy.

In the small, conservative town of Edgewater, Indiana, PTA president Veronica Greene (Kerry Washington) cancels the school prom due to the fact that lesbian student Emma Nolan (Jo Ellen Pellman) wanted to bring a girl to the dance. Ironically, Emma's girlfriend is Veronica's closeted daughter, Alyssa (Ariana DeBose).

Meanwhile, in New York City, four narcissistic actors — chorus girl Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman), unemployed sitcom star Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells), and Broadway performers fresh off a flop Barry Glickman (James Corden) and Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep) — hear of this incident and become determined to help Ellen out in an attempt to revitalize their careers. The foursome of "liberals from Broadway" arrive in Edgewater and cause a ruckus, but can they actually help the town see the value of tolerance and inclusivity?

The film was released on Netflix on December 11, 2020, following a one-week limited theatrical engagement.


  • Abled in the Adaptation: Emma in the Broadway show typically wore glasses, while the film adaptation’s Emma does not.
  • Adaptational Context Change: In the stage version of "It's Time to Dance", Barry flirtatiously sings "I just wanna dance with you" to the high school coach. In the film, he instead sings the line to his mother, who lovingly obliges.
  • Abusive Parents: The film reveals that when Barry came out to his parents, he left before they could kick him out. Dee Dee gets in contact with his mother and they reconcile. His father, on the other hand, is nowhere to be seen, having been unable to accept him.
  • Age-Gap Romance: Assuming the characters are the same age as the actors, Mr. Hawkins is twenty years younger than Dee Dee here, but no less smitten with her.
  • Actor Allusion: Trent does a jazz split during "Love Thy Neighbor", the same move that Andrew Rannells pulled off in The Book of Mormon. Choreographer Casey Nicholaw (who previously worked with Rannells in the aforementioned show) convinced him to do it again for old time's sake.
  • Adaptation Expansion:
    • The film adds a good amount of new scenes that delve deeper into Barry and Dee Dee's personal stories. Dee Dee's relationship with Eddie is given more insight, as is Barry's relationship with his estranged parents (which later culminates in his mother paying him a visit near the end to reconcile with her son).
    • Emma's grandmother, a previously unseen character, actually appears in-person for the film, mainly to explain her granddaughter's situation to Barry and the viewers.
  • Advertised Extra: Nicole Kidman received more exposure in the advertising than the size of her role suggests, especially since Angie had less to do in the film than the stage version.
  • Bowdlerise: The film removes a good amount of profanity from the script (including every F-bomb). "Changing Lives (Reprise)" has two notable alterations:
    • Among the list of stereotypes the actors think of Indiana, "inbred wives" is changed to "homey wives".
    • Barry's line at the end is changed from "Now let's go help that dyke!" to "Now let's go start a fight!"
  • Casting Gag: Andrew Rannells plays Trent Oliver, meaning he gets to sing about the Bible and Christ's teachings all over again (albeit with a different context). The jokes about hip-hop and rap around Trent is also this, given that Rannells was in Hamilton as King George III, who doesn't rap.
  • Cool Old Lady: The film features Mary Kay Place as Bea, Emma's previously unseen grandmother.note  She welcomes the Broadway actors with open arms.
  • Longing Look: The film gives Emma and Alyssa more noticeable ones than the show, particularly during the PTA meeting, where they're using the slim connection to support each other as best they can in public.
  • Media Scrum: The film opens with this, with the media swarming Mrs. Greene and then Emma before the scene cuts to Broadway.
  • Movie Bonus Song:
    • "Wear Your Crown", performed by Dee Dee, Alyssa, Emma, Mrs. Greene and Angie, plays over the first part of the end credits.
    • "Simply Love", which plays over the second half of the credits, performed by Barry.note 
  • Musicalis Interruptus: Alyssa's solo verse in "You Happened" gets cut short by the camera panning to Shelby and Kaylee, who have put Alyssa and Emma's secret relationship together.
  • No Song for the Wicked: Averted, The Film of the Play gives Mrs. Greene a part in "Wear Your Crown", as part of her character development.
  • Race Lift: Mrs. Greene was initially played by a Caucasian actor on stage but is played by Black actor Kerry Washington here.
  • Rule of Symbolism: During "Love Thy Neighbor", the camera pans up to some mall signs that, thanks to the angle, appear to form a cross above Trent and the ensemble. Appropriate imagery for a rousing Gospel Revival Number!
  • Shout-Out: Barry's phone password is 9481, Beyoncé's birthday. Dee Dee says she got it on the first try.
  • Spotting the Thread: Dee Dee realizes something is fishy when she notices that the school parking lot is empty on prom night.
  • Vomit Discretion Shot: Trent gets carsick and the scene cuts just as he retches into a bucket.