I LOVE musicals. But they have to have something that works; touch our hearts, open our imaginations, thrill our senses.Even duds like "Darling Lili" work when the music takes over and the plot is forgotten. "Chicago", same director as here, worked, though not as well as the stage versions. Give me a good musical and the world is a wonderful place.
But it is NOT with this one.
The movie has an exceptional cast, but it nastily demolishes every one of the women. Daniel Day-Lewis can act, but he has not the charisma needed for a musical. And this mess of the Broadway show has taken away all his good moments. Kate Hudson has made too few movies of late, so why waste her in her dreadful number, a reject from The Village People", and then give her no character at all to play? Poor Dame Judi Dench; if she needs the money this badly, let's all write her out a cheque in appreciation of the great joys she has given us in the past and spare her the degradation of this type of badly written part.
What happened to the eleven o-clock song, "Getting Tall"? Gone. What happened to the Venice sequence? Gone. What happened to "The Bells..."? Gone. What about "Simple", a beautiful moment of tranquility and insight? Gone. And on it goes....And how dare any director take "Unusual Way", one of the best, most beautiful, Broadway songs in decades, place it in the movie where it does not belong, split it up into tiny segments with dialogue undercutting it time and time again, and assign it to a non-character. (Sorry, Nicole. I adore you, but you're another victim of this mess.)
The sound is splendid...it catches every hammering of a graceful score and magnifies it horribly. The new songs are raucous and out of character- but, hey, try for that oscar that old songs don't qualify for, no matter what you have to throw out to make room for them. Visually,there is excellent camera work, but who cares about twenty chairs dragged by twenty Valkyries?
The set, well, "Follies" did the rundown theatre better, so that, too, is a rip-off that fails.
The movie is a bad rehash of good moments from other shows and movies. Back to the drawing board, Marshall, more creativity and less ego. Preserve our great Broadway shows, even with a revisiting of them as you did in "Chicago". Just stop demolishing them totally.