When is the last time you applauded at the end of a film? I don't mean self-consciously clap, but applaud as if you had just seen a great play or a cool jazz concert? Last night, I saw a movie that made me so happy that I applauded at the end.
Angela and I saw Dreamgirls last night. It was an okay movie filled with amazing performances, ala Ray. Some of the numbers were cheesy, but the movie did a great job of incorporating the music into the plot. The movie was not afraid of referencing the theatrical source - both consciously and subconsciously. Much of it took place on stage or in dressing rooms, so you never forgot that everyone was performing. The camera angles were created to connect the movie audience with the audience in the movie, so we were all watching The Dreams together. That was very cool.
Jennifer Hudson was fantastic! Granted, she didn't have to play Lady MacBeth or anything, but she worked it! Her showstopper, "And I Am Telling You I'm Not Going" literally brought the house down...and I was in one of the largest movie houses in the city. She filled up the space with every facial expression, every hand on the hip, and especially every note she sang.
Another way the movie referenced the theatricality of the material was through the end credits. They were presented like a curtain call, with music and everything. There was a short montage of each actor's scenes in the movie, so you got to cheer for each of them individually. Jennifer Hudson's montage, however, began with a drum roll and the words "And Introducing..." When her name appeared, everyone stood up. Even though our brains knew she couldn't hear her standing ovation, our hearts didn't care. In such a cynical city, how fun it was just be unabashedly and openly happy.