The Best LGBTQ+ Films of 2020
An early musical number in Ryan Murphy’s big-screen adaptation of the 2018 smash Broadway musical The Prom features the central couple singing a love song to one another. Except instead of a romance between white heterosexual characters, the core love story of The Prom centers on teen girls, one of whom is a woman of color. And that first number, “Dance With You,” performed by out actors Ariana DeBose (Hamilton, Summer, A Bronx Tale) as Alyssa Green and newcomer Jo Ellen Pellman as Emma Nolan, is a tearjerker for queer girls (for anyone, really) who’ve never seen or imagined themselves as the romantic leads in a movie musical.The film was inspired in part by the 2010 saga of a Mississippi teen, Constance McMillen, who was thwarted from going to her prom because she simply desired to wear a tux and attend with the person she loved — her girlfriend. Murphy’s film, adapted to the screen by Bob Martin and Chad Beguelin (the authors of the book of the play), with lyrics by Beguelin and music by Matthew Sklar, tells the story of Indiana teens Emma and Alyssa, a couple who’ve been together secretly for some time and, like any other teen couple, just want to have a proper prom. But Alyssa’s perfectionist mother, also a powerful figure in the PTA, Mrs. Green (Kerry Washington playing against type), opts to cancel the teen rite of passage altogether rather than allow Emma to enjoy prom with the person she loves.
DeBose spoke with The Advocate about what it brings to the the film’s central queer love story that she and Pellman are both a part of the LGBTQ+ community. “In this case, Jo Ellen and I have such beautiful chemistry, in my opinion. It’s because of how we identify in our real lives and because we know what it’s like to walk in these girls’ shoes. When you can bring that type of authenticity to the table, it just makes the material that much more rich and layered,” DeBose said. “If I didn’t identify as LGBTQ, I don’t know if Kerry and I would have made some of the discoveries that we made about Alyssa and Mrs. Green’s relationship. It does make a difference.”
Original Article on The Advocate
Author: Tracy E. Gilchrist and Daniel Reynolds