Multicultural topics hit the big screen...Again!
The film is an adaptation of the Tony award -winning 2002 Broadway musical. The story takes place in 1962 Baltimore; the film follows a "plus sized" girl named Tracy Turnblad as she simultaneously pursues stardom as a dancer on a local TV show and rallies against racial segregation.
For those of you that never got a chance to see the original movie or the Broadway play or maybe you were like me and thought it was the sequel to Shampoo...well let me bring you up to date.
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The story is about a teen-age plus size girl named Tracy. She is determined to dance on TV on one of those American Bandstand like shows. The station manager is played by Michelle Pfeiffer. Even though she is considered a "racist", she does allow a show to be aired one day a month for the black children. It's called Negro Day! After being sent to detention one day for having "inappropriate hair height" Tracy learns from the black kids how to do the hot dance moves. Tracy's best friend falls for a black boy who happens to be the son of the host of "Negro Day". The host is played by Queen Latifah and she won't stand in the way of the teen's interracial romance but, does feel very strongly about civil rights.
The USA Today says that the film "bears little resemblance to the original 1988 cult film... but it's still energetic and goofy...it does have some social conscience in its focus on the outcast and its admittedly lightweight exploration of racial issues."
Call me crazy but, I just enjoy a good story, great actors and throw in some good music and its well worth its weight or $8 at the box office. I think this one is even worth buying when it comes out on DVD (no bootlegs please).
Of course I'm always astonished by the changes (or lack there of), that we've made racially since the 1960's. We may share a lot more "cross over" music, but people are still giving grief and resistance over interracial dating. What I did like about this film compared to the other films that have interracial couples in them, is that this one is still fun and happy. Hairspray is still a film filled with all those messages about acceptance of that which is different, it's just that it's not over the top or preachy and you still feel good after the credits have stopped.
It also reminds us how much more insightful our children can be into the true heart of others. Prejudiced thoughts and behaviors are taught and practiced. They are handed down from generation to generation. Our children are far more tolerant and accommodating of different cultures and experiences. We were too, before we learned better...or should I say differently!
The review written in the San Francisco Chronicle said it best: "In the end, it's amazing that a film so giddy and silly can land with an emotional impact, and yet "Hairspray" does. ..."Hairspray" makes you want to believe that goodwill alone brought about those changes in the 1960s. Knowing better turns this lightweight frolic into a poignant experience.
This is Leticia...see you at the movies.
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