Hah! A seventy-two year old father, me, showed in one instance he's more culturally with it than his forty-eight year old daughter, Celeste.
Usually Celeste has seen, or at least heard of, cinematic offerings before me. After all, she lives in Orange County, which is a lot closer to Hollywood than I am here in Oregon.
But in a post-Christmas FaceTime call this afternoon, I asked Celeste if she had seen The Prom yet. No, she hadn't. And it appears she wasn't even aware of this Netflix production.
I highly enjoyed The Prom. So did my wife. I don't get why Rotten Tomatoes has it with a 58% positive review from critics and 68% from viewers.
In my utterly personal opinion, this story of two girls who aren't allowed to attend their Indiana high school prom as a couple was well-acted, entertaining, and moving.
It's full of song and dance numbers involving the four lead actors: Meryl Streep, James Corden, Nicole Kidman, and Andrew Ranells. I thought the last two sentences of The New Yorker review by an overly snooty Anthony Lane missed the mark.
It's possible both to agree entirely with the movie's politics and, at the same time, to feel that you're being strangled by a rainbow, and we should thank the Lord that "The Prom" wasn't released before the election. I can think of some states, not just Indiana, where wavering voters, disgruntled rather than wowed by the film's remorseless plea for tolerance, might have swung in the opposite direction.
Well, maybe those of us old enough to distinctly remember when lesbians and gays were really discriminated against in high school, way beyond what The Prom shows, find the aforementioned "remorseless plea for tolerance" more appealing than younger viewers like, perhaps, Lane.
Having spent 1962-66 at a small (400 students or so) central California high school in Woodlake, I watched the inspiring end of The Prom with tears beginning to form in my eyes.
Partly because I admired the courage of the student, Emma (played by Jo Ellen Pellman), who wants to take her girlfriend to the prom and meets resistance from a behind-the-times parent organization.
And partly because I was inwardly cringing at the memories of how the guys in my high school referred to homosexuals. We'd throw around insults like "You homo!" and "Faggot!" with gleeful abandon.
Naturally there weren't any known lesbians or gays in my high school. Yet probably they were there, just underground. In fact, they might have been using those epithets I just shared themselves. If you're afraid to be outed, you have to show that you're part of the heterosexual in-club.
I wish I could apologize in person to anyone harmed by how we spoke about homosexuals back then. My only excuse is that we didn't know any better. There was zero mention of homosexuality in any class I took in high school, so far as I can remember.
Plus, there definitely was no attempt by the teachers to encourage respect for diversity, including different ways of expressing one's sexuality than the societal norm. Back then homosexuality was viewed as an aberration, a moral failing, something to be mocked and condemned.
I can understand why young people today who live in liberal areas might look upon The Prom as making a big deal out of something that is taken for granted by most high schoolers today: being attracted to the same sex not only is no big deal, it isn't any sort of deal, just the way things are.
That's wonderful. But The Prom still has a message that needs to be heard, because not everyone agrees with what I just said. Are you listening, Indiana?
Here's the trailer.