For people that haven't seen Evita, it seems to be one of those Marmite films. You either love musicals or hate them all, right? Well this is absolutely not the case for this film. In my opinion at least, this film covers such a wide range of bases that it is short-sighted and somewhat unfair to dismiss it solely on the basis of it being a musical.
I personally love musicals and of the opinion that the emotions conveyed through song are just as- if not more- touching and powerful than that of standard dialog. But for those that do not share this view, the film offers so much more than what appears on the surface.
Based on the true events of 1940's Buenos Aires, we are taken on a journey through the life of Eva Peron, from her humble beginnings as an illegitimate daughter of a poor farmer, to becoming the First Lady of Argentina. Using Che (Antonio Banderas) as the narrator and personification of the public opinion, the story covers important political happenings at the time, from the revolt of the Proletariat to political corruptness and suppression of women.
This is one of those films where no amount of explanation will really do it justice. It simply needs to be seen to grasp the overall brilliance. Evita is a very slow paced film and requires a lot of patience. If you really can't sit still for two minutes then this film probably isn't for you. However if you sit back and give it the full attention that it deserves, then this film will reward you with a beautiful, mind-stimulating and heart-breaking experience.
** Potential Spoilers in this review, film only **
I'm a karaoke fan - and a massive fan of big musical show tunes, with one of my favourites to belt out being 'Don't cry for me Argentina'. Despite having belted out that song numerous times, I'd never seen the film until recently, when my boyfriend and I sat down to watch it .
The film charts Eva Duarte on her rise a childhood living in abject poverty, through to moving to Buenos Aires and embarking upon a string of affairs and an acting career, before meeting and marrying Peron and becoming the 'First Lady' or Argentina, and ends with her eventual death. I don't think that is really a spoiler , as the film actually begins with her death being announced in a movie theatre in the middle of a film.
I didn't know a thing about Argentine politics before watching this film, and I have to say that after 2 hours and fifteen minutes sat watching it, I was any the wiser . This may be due to not enough information being included in the film, but it could just as easily be down to the 'Why sing when you can speak' feel of the whole film . Now, I'm all for a musical, and I love a good show tune, but almost every word in this film was sung - not spoken.
This might have been a unique selling point had it been sung in some kind of memorable tune, but really it seemed like the most trivial little thing was being sung, throughout the film, in a kind of monotonous drone of a rhythm. In all honesty, after the first 30 minutes, I was bored out of my head, with only the sexy sexy Antonio Banderas keeping my attention.
Oh, he is a sexy sexy man, and actually a pretty good bit of casting. On the odd occasion when the movie did break out into a properly sing-a-longable number, he led almost as much as Madonna in the vocals, with his voice actually managing to be surprisingly musical whilst still portraying all the anger and emotion of the moment. His dark eyes flash rage as he sings about Eva letting down her country - and the film is certainly not hurt by the brief glimpses of him in a wet shirt . However, his thick accent did mean that at times I struggled to know what he was talking about, and I really think this affected my understanding of the film.
Madonna seemed well cast in the role, not least because she can pull of the glamour of the 1940's style outfits and hairstyles perfectly. I have to say, the costuming in this film is fantastic, as is the location selection - darkly atmospheric gaslit hallways, the blazing Argentinian sun, the glamorous old fashioned cars. Aesthetically, this film is very pleasing on the eye, and styled perfectly .
The odd real song, when it appeared, was generally quite good . There were quite a few almost rockish guitar moments, and some of the songs had soothing and soulful saxophone backing. I love Dont't Cry For Me, and
'Oh what a circus' , which is sung to the same tune, is also worth a listen . I also very much enjoyed "I'd Be Surprisingly Good for You" , a very sexy and flirtatious little number.
Overall, the actors in this film were good, with Antonio being incredibly easy on the eye . The actual songs were decent, and the costume and scenery selections were perfect . It's just a shame that the need to sing every syllable in a thick accent, often at speed, left me bewildered and not really knowing what was going on, and that sadly I failed to learn anything from a film that I hoped would at least teach me something about Argentine politics. As far as I can gather, she was born, she had some relationships with men, became famous, married a man who would later become president, and then died young. That is about as deep a grasp as I got .
Not a film I would recommend at all
Evita is a film that concentrates on the life of the Argentine political leader Eva Peron who was the second wife of the Argentinan Presdient Juan Peron. The story follows Evita's early life, rise to power, charity work and her early eventual death. The story is told through the eyes of Che Guevara, an ordinary man who tells the story of Eva's rise to power and subsequent illness and death, appearing as many different characters and serving as Eva's conscience and critic.
Eva Duarte is a young girl who dreams of leaving her poor class behind and wishes to make it big in Argentina. At the young age of 15, Eva heads off to Buenos Aires where she begins her career - starting off as a dancer, to radio, stage and film actress. Meeting many men along the way who seem to be just a pawn in Eva's quest for fame. (One of Eva's first lovers is Augustine Magaldi, a singer, sadly for Eva he dumps her when they arrive at the capital and she soon realises he is married.)
After Eva's career takes off, she soon meets Juan Peron, the soon to be president of Argentina and her stunning looks soon capture Peron's eye and before long they are married in 1945. Eva becomes extremely prominent in Colonel Peron's campaign to become the President and her tireless actions are what makes his presidency finally happen. The nation just adore her, and name her Evita which is an affectionate term in Spanish for "Little Eva". Over the next years, Eva becomes extremely powerful and launches her own charity - the Eva Peron Foundation, launches her own female political party and after six years she decides she wants to run for Vice President. This does not please the military, and large scale riots begin happening.
Eva's health is dwindling rapidly at this time, and she developed cancer, something that she hid from the nation for as long as she possibly could. Sadly, the cancer took Eva's life on 26th July 1952 at the young age of 33.
The film is a musical production, with the music written by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice. Evita first opened on Broadway in 1979, and the film version was released in 1996. Evita is played by Madonna, who is just amazing in this role! I had never been a great fan of Madonna until I saw her in this film, and while I realise she is an actress it just totally changed my whole opinion of her and now I am a massive fan! Che Guevara is played by the fantastic Antonio Banderas - I had only seen him in one film before this and didn't expect him to be able to sing, but he is excellent in this film.
While there aren't many other well known stars in this film, there are a few:
Jonathan Pryce - Colonel Juan Peron
Jimmy Nail - Augustine Magaldi
Andrea Corr (of the group The Corrs) - Peron's mistress.
Soundtrack (Track and Sung by):
1. Requiem For Evita
2. Oh What A Circus - Che
3. On This Night Of A Thousand Stars - Magaldi
4. Eva and Magaldi/Eva Beware Of The City - Eva, Magaldi and Che
5. Buenos Aires - Eva
6. Another Suitcase In Another Hall - Eva
7. Goodnight And Thankyou - Eva and Che
8. The Lady's Got Potential - Che
9. Charity Concert - Magaldi, Peron, Che
10. I'd Be Suprisingly Good For You - Eva and Peron
11. Hello And goodbye - Eva, Peron and Mistress
12. Perons Latest Flame - Che and Eva
13. Dice Are Rolling/A New Argentina - Eva, Peron
14. Don't Cry For Me Argentina - Eva
15. High Flying Adored - Eva
16. Rainbow High - Eva
17. Rainbow Tour - Che
18. The Actress Hasn't Learned The Lines - Eva, Che
19. And The Money Kept Rolling In - Che
20. Pardito Feminista - Eva
21. She's A Diamond - Peron
22. Santa Evita - Mauceri
23. Waltz For Eva And Che - Eva, Che
24. Your Little Body - Eva, Peron
25. You Must Love Me - Eva
26. Eva's Final Broadcast - Eva
27. Lament - Eva, Che
The songs in this film are so well written, they tell the story fantastically well in my opinion and help you understand the film a lot more. I think LLoyd Webber and Rice totally excelled themselves with these songs. I adore all the songs, but I would say my favourites are Buenos Aires, Don't Cry For Me Argentina, High Flying Adored and Waltz For Eva and Che.
I have seen this film more times than I am probably able to count, I just love it. I remember going to the pictures to see it for the first time and thinking I would hate it (we had gone to see something else and it was full so ended up going to see this), how wrong was I!!! Many people doubt Madonna's acting skills but I think she is faultless in this film, and its shocking how much she actually looks like Eva! Some of the scenes with Madonna in are just brilliant, the scene where she sings Don't Cry For Me Argentina is one of my favourites as it is quite powerful, and sadly she plays the ill Evita very well and it is quite touching.
Antonio Banderas was a brilliant suprise in this role, and he looks quite hot as Che too (an extra bonus to the film!) I really like how the story is told through Che's eyes, it gives a real insight into the life of Eva Duarte de Peron. I was just 16 when I first saw this film, and admit that it did take a good few watches for me to understand it all, and it led me into buying several books on Eva Peron and learning a great deal about what she did for Argentina.
I would really love to see the stage version of this musical, hopefully one day I will manage to go and treat my mum to see it, but many people say that may be a bad thing. Who knows, I would love to see it and be my own judge!
Thank you for taking the time to read my review :)
A touching, if not altogether historically accurate, account of the life of Argentina's saintly matriarch, conveyed somewhat quirkily via the music of Andrew Lloyd-Webber and Tim Rice.
Narrated by a strangely omnipresent Che (Antonio Banderas) the film tells the story of Eva Duarte, the illegitimate daughter of a middle-class Argentine rancher, and her determination to make something of her life, from her lowly, almost impoverished childhood in the province of Junin, through her less-than-successful career as an actress, to her chance meeting with Colonel Juan Peron, an upcoming star of the Argentinean army and would-be president.
Focusing mainly on the Argentine people's affection for their first-lady and only touching briefly on the many corruption allegations that dogged her and her husband's reign, the film does actually give you a sense of the unity she brought to a country that had, hitherto, been gripped by years of civil unrest and of the rankling she caused in the upper echelons of the country's government when she announced that she would stand for vice-president.
The characters are well cast and, more importantly for a musical, don't sound bad when they are singing. Of course you wouldn't expect anything less than musical brilliance from Madonna in the lead role, but Antonio Banderas himself and Jonathan Price (Juan Peron) add a lot to the richness of the music. Look out for Jimmy Nail as Agustine Magaldi too.
Being the type of boring old stick that would rather watch a historical documentary than a musical, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall quality and absorbing appeal of the film and found myself buying the soundtrack CD soon after I first watched it.
I remember when this film first came out and I think I must have seen it about 5 times with various people. It's one of those love it or loathe movies, largely brought about by the constant singing. There's only about one line that's spoken when Juan Peron tells Eva that she is dying. It's one of the most sincere lines in the movie.
Based on Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice's smash that made a household name of Elaine Paige it tells the rags to riches story of Eva Duarte, the illegitimate child of an Argentinean farmer. Her hatred for the middle classes is clearly linked to her being kept out of sight at her father's funeral. A hatred she carries through life as she always identifies with the working classes. There's no point in messing about. Eva sleeps her way to the top using men as stepping stones to go from model to actress to radio presenter before meeting Juan Peron, soon to be president.
The film starts in a cinema in 1952 with a film being interrupted and a manager announcing the death of Eva Peron. It then shoots back in time to her father's funeral and the humiliation suffered because she and her sibling were illegitimate. The action moves from a small and humble funeral to the lavish excess of Eva's state funeral complete with flower petals and the utmost reverence. We then enter a small bar and meet Che, played by Antonio Banderas. He addresses the audience directly and tells us about the circus that is Eva Peron. Through flashback we see the underlying troubles and are given a hint at what is to come in the film. The film then shoots back to Eva as a young girl in bed with Magaldi, played by Jimmy Nail. And then I started laughing. Sorry, I just couldn't take the fluff on the top lip seriously.
After using her charms and with a little friendly blackmailing from her family Eva leaves with Magaldi for Buenos Aires and a new life. We see her flirt with the city and can't help but wait for the snag in the happy ending. And just like that she's out on her own when Magaldi leaves her outside his apartment where his wife and child stay. This is one of the many changes from the show. The song (Another Suitcase) was not to be sung by the actress playing Eva. It is normally sung by Juan Peron's latest bit of fluff at further into the film. It works well here and pushes the story right along to the next chapter in Eva's life before the film charts her rise to fame and in time meeting her future husband.
I won't embellish the rest of the story too much here. There are plenty of funny and dramatic moments in this movie that will make you love and hate Eva. Her hatred of the middle classes and the English becomes apparent as she makes them disappear and loose their social standing.
A crowning moment in the film is the signature song 'Don't cry For Me Agrentina'. It is a song of utter reverence and brilliance, showing a fragile and vulnerable woman who is devoted to helping her people
Her tour of Europe is a tremendous excess of colour and style. The Italian visit is particularly humorous, although at the same time very sad. Eva's rise in popularity is shown throughout this movie in her campaign to free her partner and also in the work of her foundation. It is worth remembering that while many were helped in the foundation much of the money was simply not where it should be.
The film takes a turn when Eva collapses through exhaustion in Paris and she returns home. However, this is a precursor to what is to come. Eva collapses at mass and is taken to hospital. In real life Eva had a hysterectomy to remove cancerous cells, though this is not made clear in the film. She then had another operation to help with the cancer.
It is here that the movie steps into fantasy.
Eva and Che finally meet face to face. Che's character is sketchy. Based strongly on Che Guevara but having no historical backing Che has come and gone all through Eva's life. He is like her conscience and a guardian angel all mixed in. He seems to blend into the background when required and only be seen by those he wants to be seen by. I have tried to explain this character to my wife several times and still not managed. Che seems to have a forbidden love that borders on loathing for Eva. Either way he has the greatest admiration or is it infatuation for our leading lady. This scene (Last Waltz) brings out all of Eva's determination and ultimately a realisation that she is terminally ill. It is also realisation to Che that Eva is not invincible.
Eva's decline is rapid and she humbly announces to the crowd that she is stepping out of politics and returning all of the accolades as she is and always has been just one them. Again, the strains of 'Don't cry for Me Argentina' come through but this time in more of a lament.
The country is plunged into mourning when the lights go out.
The film ends in a very touching way when Che breaks rank in order to kiss the coffin of Eva, perfectly preserved in glass for all to see. Juan Peron notices him finally and they share a glance as though recognising each other for what they are.
The film uses stunning backdrops to create a visually stunning piece. We have come to expect this of Alan Parker. It uses pace and wit to push a very serious story line on and of course stops at exactly the right moment to still love Eva Peron. History after these events tells a different story.
The three principals play their parts well. Madonna is engaging and turns from naïve girl to strong political mind with ease. Her determination to be accepted in this role is clear and her decline is well portrayed. Jonathon Pryce plays the spineless Juan Peron well. Antonio Banderas is excellent in his role. Sadly, a little bit of his diction is marred by his accent but just listen to some of those bits twice or three times.
You will make up your own mind about whether Eva Peron was a saint or sinner based on what you think. The film reminded me of the life of Princess Diana especially the period of mourning after her death. Another controversial story there too but I don't think the film tells you what to think. Decide that bit for yourself.
I am going to outline my view on this film as the review after mine outlines the story of Evita perfectly.
In summary this film is the life story of Eva Peron, and stars Madonna, Antonio Banderas and Jonathan Pryce.
The film starts with the announcemnet of Eva's death and her funeral and so if you have never heard the story of Eva Peron this may seem a little confusing - but it does make you realise what a huge impact this person must have had for so many people to show such huge outpourings of emotion.
The acting is of a reasonable standard and the locations are well chosen. It is a very powerful film in many places with some very strong images - especially when the military are involved. The songs are wonderful and tell the story perfectly. There is no dialogue in this film as such, all the story telling is done through the songs. This I found really odd to start with but after having seen a number of the Webber/Rice musicals which follow the same format it just seems normal now.
The film is very good at portraying the strength of Evita and then contrasts this wonderfully with the frailty that she shows in the final scenes before her death.
When I first saw this film a number of years ago I thought this film was great however I have since had the opportunity to see the live show and this unfortunatly now pales - but even so it is well worth a watch
Musicals are a difficult genre to get right on film, mainly because they dont appeal to a mainstream audience. Throw into the mix a terminally bad actress, and you're bound to cause controversy. Madonna apparently had to convince an unconvinced Alan Parker that she was perfect for the role. On past merit, she wouldn't have even gotten a reading. So, its suprising to find that she bagged the part and actually got rave reviews for it.
Evita is the questionable true story of Argentina's First Lady Eva Peron. Coming from the poor Duarte family, she was bastardised by her father's first wife, who refused to acknowledge her. Down on her luck, Eva Duarte climbed the ranks of Argentina's entertainment industry by bedding famous men who could assist in her career.
Initially, she was a poster girl come actress who eventually met the future President Juan Peron and married him. Presented here as a loveless marriage, it also tells of her fight for acceptance among Argentina's high society. Eventually, Eva Peron accepted her role as voice of the poor, although underground parties alude to the fact that her only agenda was her own.
The story is told through the eyes of the mysterious Che, who plays critique to Evita's rising star. The two only ever meet face to face in a dream sequence later in the film, when Evita is terminally ill. Much of the film, if not all, is told through the medium of song, with an operatic rock soundtrack from the studio of Andrew Lloyd Webber.
Madonna turns in a sterling performance as Eva Peron. Claiming she felt the spirit of the late Peron during filming, perhaps the singer's empathy with the President's wife is due more to her own background where she to had a distinct lack of talent but an absolute hunger for it. Like Peron, Madonna too has forged a career out of clawing her way to the top and maintaining it by controversy and determination. Aside from that though, we'd have a problem if Madonna wasn't any good in the role. Its well documented that she's not a good actress, but if one of the world's most famous singers couldn't pull off a part in a musical, then there's no hope.
Who knew Antonio Banderas could sing his lungs out though. His husky voice and strong Spanish accent make for a thoroughly enjoyable performance. And he may well have had to have singing lessons for the part, but there's no doubt that he has a powerful pair of lungs. His role as Che is also the most engaging, as he is actually forced to connect with the audience through the narrative.
Jonathan Pryce as Juan Peron is a bit of a cold fish, and his voice isn't particularly great. But he has an air of authority about him that makes him believable as the President. Jimmy Nail is a hoot, making an early appearance as a dodgy singer who promises Eva Duarte the world before snatching it away from her after a steamy sordid night. An early appearance of Andrea Corr is also notable if only just for a trainspotting moment.
The soundtrack is a belter, far more rock and appealing than most of Lloyd Webber's overblown works. Madonna's songs are popped up slightly, and she is in her element with the more Madonna-esque side of it. Rainbow High, High Flying Adored and A New Argentina show a formiddable side to her voice. Elsewhere, Bandera's turn with Oh What A Circus is a terrific opener. The best moment comes though when Eva Peron stands on her famous Casa Rosada balcony to deliver a powerful speech in the form of the song Dont Cry For Me Argentina. The moment is repeated for something far more heart-wrenching later in the film.
The problem with turning a very well documented historical figure into a musical, and subsequently a film, is that it leaves very little to the facts. Sure, the timeline is well executed, but how can a musical possibly deal with something as serious as cancer effectively. Instead, its played down, and hammed up in moments of teary singing by the leads. Whilst Madonna still manages to pull sympathy in those scene's, it just feels a bit tasteless. In other scene's, its left to the imagination to fathom whats going on. Clever phrasing in the songs aren't able to articulate events as well as perhaps a straight dramatic film might be able to. Eva Peron's huge contribution to the cause of feminism is completely ignored.
The film in its genre is hugely enjoyable though, and explosive scene's as violence ravages the streets of Beunos Aires give it a feeling of a city in trouble and tells us exactly why the poor in this city had to have somebody to put their faith in. Subtle moments suggest their faith was somewhat unrewarded, but with so little verbal exchanges between characters, its really rather hard to get from this one source what the actual story was. This will never be a historical lession, but its certainly a well made musical with a terrific score.
- EVITA ARGENTINAS FIRST LADY -
Evita is adapted from the stage musical by the same name written by Andrew Lloyd Webber. It is based on the true story of Argentina's first lady Eva Peron. Released in 1996 it falls under the genre Biography/Musical/Drama. Starring Madonna, Antonio Banderas, and Jonathan Pryce. Directed by Alan Parker, it spans the life and events of Evita and President Juan Peron. -
An interesting story of the young woman Eva Duarte (Madonna), poor and struggling in the lower class, poverty stricken backstreet's of Argentina. Using her feminine wiles, she plots and fights her way out of the gutter to build herself a life of luxury. Using men as her strategic plan she works her way to the top, discarding lovers, as she steps onto the next rung of the social ladder, till she is finally at the top of her tree, when she sets her sights on the leader of Argentina. I love this film. I like the way the songs depict the story, as in the musical, and they step in at the very right moment, and complete that section of the film.
The film charts the life of Eva Duarte from a young child. Eva had a traumatic experience when she was young, when she tries to attend her fathers funeral. His second wife bans her and her family from attending, because they are lower class, and this is a profound, and distressing moment in the young life of Eva. Determined to escape the poverty and all it's social stigmas, when she is older, she sets herself a plan to sleep her way to the top. Using men as her stepping stones to the future.
When she reaches the age of fifteen she leaves her home town of Junin and travels to Buenos Aires with a singer with whom she is having an affair. When someone else comes along with more influence and power, she drops her lover without a moments hesitation. This shows the determination and drive of her character, which is to reach her ultimate goal, and to be accepted , and welcomed by the upper classes. The song she first sings when she discards her singer who has brought her to Buenes Aries is; 'Another suitcase, another hall', and this song sums up perfectly, and with tongue firmly in cheek, the manipulative route that she has planned. Then each time, after that, when she drops another lover, to move up in the echelon, this song comes in once again.
Madonna is fantastic in this role, and I forgot immediately who I was watching. When I went to see this film when it was first shown, I wasn't too keen on the fact that she was playing the main part, and I would have preferred a more serious actress in the role. But I have to say, she was tremendous in the part of Eva. A much better choice than say Michelle Pfeiffer, who I feel would have been much too weak in the part. Or even Barbara Streisand, Glen Close or Olivia Newton John, who were rumored to be up for the role, none of which I feel have the strength of character to have fulfilled the portraying of such a strong character. And as it stands Madonna was a perfect choice, and she did much PR to ensure herself a stab at the role. People thought Madonna was a ridiculous choice, but I have to say she has proved us all wrong. Her quality of acting was superb, and she portrayed the ruthless, determined Eva Peron with a great flair, and honesty. Madonnas voice holds up well, and I feel her vocal range was just right, without sounding too operatic.
This was a case of the woman behind the man of power, and she advised him every step of the way, to ensure he reach the pinnacle of his career. She was the Argentina's sweetheart. The Argentinian people could see themselves in her, and identify, and they shared an affinity, because she herself had come from a working class background, and the people looked up to her with a huge pride and passion. A modern day comparison could be Princess Diana, when the wife is more important as a spiritual figure to the people, rather than the leader of the country. This is a strong film with a powerful storyline. Some critics have viewed this film as portraying the glorification of fascism, but I think the political angle was just right. The film centres mainly on the rags to riches story of Eva Duarde, and her journey along the way. It is a film about the strength of the woman, and what ends can be obtained from sheer determination.
Anthonio Banderes was brilliant as Argentinean dissident Che Guevara, and also as the narrator throughout the film. He brings a great humour and depth of character to the role, and Jonathan Pryce as Juan Perón, was excellent, and I felt an empathy towards the dictator. He portrayed the human qualities of the man in power, in a quiet reserved fashion. Yet held his ground, with a subdued strength, and his performance stood on a par to that of Madonna. I found his portrayal of the character to be very believable, and finely acted. Darius Khondji's cinematography was superb, capturing the authentic feel of the era, which was perfectly recreated in fine detail. Evita is a fantastic cinematic experience, the choreography is amazing. Dancing in Evita is only shown when it is in context, and the dancing in this film was truly superb, from the Flamenco to the Tango. Every step was beautifully choreographed, and in keeping with the time.
A lot of the film was shot in Argentina, and the song 'Don't Cry For Me Argentina' was actually filmed on the balcony of the Casa Rosada in Buenos Aires. The production was conveyed in a very realistic form, and the fact that there was not too much dancing added to it's realism, and the dancing in this film was visually amazing! The songs include You Must Love Me - Madonna Don't Cry for Me, Argentina - Madonna Another Suitcase in Another Hall - Madonna Buenos Aires - Madonna. As taken from the musical by the same name.
Alan Parkers direction is excellent!, and this is a spectacular epic of a film. One of the best movie musicals that have been produced to date. It is a splendid film, lavish and beautiful to watch. The architecture is visually stunning, and has remained virtually untouched for centuries. The musical score is tremendous, in fact everything about this film is excellent, and if you haven't seen it already, I recommend you do. -
'Following the success of the film, the government of Argentina released its own film biography of Peron, entitled "Eva Perón," to correct alleged distortions in the Lloyd Webber account'.
Running time is 134 minutes.
BBFC rating is: PG for images
of violence and mild language.
Directed by Alan Parker
Produced by Alan Parker
Written by Alan Parker
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Andrew Lloyd Webber
Thank you for reading.
Madonna is known as a singer not an actor. Every film she made flopped before Evita made in 1996 starring her and directed by Alan Parker.
It is a musical film based on recent history of Argentina. She plays Evita who was known in life as Eva Peron wife of the president. She was a strong figure, she was at forefront of moulding her husbands policy. In the film characters sing instead of talking and Madonna is very good at this.
The film is like an epic tale of one woman who lived life to the full. She has a sad ending dying of cancer at peak of life. In real life Peron lived from 1919-1952. Only 33 years.
Evita is a very good musical because of good music and right cast for the main roles.
My fascination with the story of Eva Duarte goes back many years. Long before 1996 in fact when this film of her life story, starring Madonna was made.
The story of Evita is a fascinating one and it is a role that it is said that Madonna had set her eyes upon for a long time. Rumours that a full length film version of Andrew Lloyd Webber's West End Musical was to be made had been circulating for years and apparently Madonna contacted Andrew Lloyd Webber on several occasions, slowly convincing him that she was the perfect person for the lead role.
The Film that was eventually to be made was obviously based on the West End Musical but it was to be a film with a difference, since almost all of the dialogue was to be sung rather than spoken. I had my reservations of how this would work but since I was already fascinated with the story of this film's central character and also a fan of Madonna I waited for the release of this film with eager anticipation.
The film opens on the 26th July 1952 in Buenos Aires, Argentina with Eva already dead, lying in State in her coffin and in the background one of several variations of what is probably the most famous song from the soundtrack "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" is playing. People are walking past her coffin crying, others are hysterical, unable to believe that the woman, who had become Argentina's First Lady was dead at the age of just 33.
As "Don't Cry For Me Argentina" fades out the story jumps back to the 1930's where we see Eva as a young girl in rural Argentina watching her father's funeral from a distance with her mother and sisters. There is some commotion in which the widow screams abuse at Eva's mother and they are all ushered away into the background.
Maria Eva Duarte had been born illegitimate, out of wedlock and therefore there was a huge stigma attached to the fact that she was at the funeral as in the eyes of the other people in the village she had no right to be at her father's funeral.
At the age of fifteen Eva leaves her rural birth land and heads off to the nation's capital, Buenos Aires where she pursues her career as a radio, stage and film actress. Arriving with nothing she meets many different men on her early journey using them as stepping stones to further her career. Amongst these early lovers is a singer called Agustin Migaldi, played by Jimmy Nail, who she convinces to take her to the capital, once there she quickly dumps him and moves on.
Most of the story is told through the eyes of Che Geuvara a Political Activist and an important figure in 1930/40's Argentina, Che is played by Antonio Banderas who scornfully watches Eva rise through Buenos Aires's society to the point where she meets the soon to be President of Argentina, Colonel Juan Domingo Peron.
Eva's stunning good looks and ability to manipulate most of the people that she meets soon sweeps the Colonel off his feet, and despite the fact that he is already married they quickly become lovers.
Andrea Corr (of the Band the Corrs) plays Peron's first wife and there is a scene where Eva drags her out of bed with the opening lines of a song called "Hello and Goodbye" in which she sings "Hello and goodbye, I've just unemployed you. You can go back to school now. You've had a good run".
Eva and Peron marry in 1945 and Eva becomes prominent in his campaign to become President of Argentina in the elections of the following year. She captures the heart of the nation and it is said that immediately after Peron's landslide victory that his wife was twice as popular as the President himself. The Eva rollercoaster gathers force and the nation take her to their heart, affectionately calling her "Evita" a Spanish word for Little Eva.
Over the next six years Evita becomes not only the most powerful woman in Argentina, but one of the leading figures in the whole of the Spanish-speaking World. Evita launches a charity foundation called the Eva Peron Foundation and even forms the nation's first large-scale female political party, called the Female Peronist Party. In 1951 Eva announces that she is to run for the position of the Vice President of Argentina in the forthcoming elections, but despite support from her husband's own Party she has strong opposition from both the military and elite that see no place in the Country's Politics for a woman.
The military and elite eventually quash Evita's plans to stand in an election but there is a much bigger concern for Eva, that of her rapidly declining health. This was something that she hid not only hide from the nation but also from her husband until her last dying days when she could hide it from him no longer.
María Eva Duarte de Perón died on the 26th July 1952 from terminal cancer at the age of 33. This is where the film ends as it begins. Eva's short life has ended but she appears to have achieved so much, including the seemingly inevitable task of uniting the people of her country. There are still however her sceptics and none more so than the scathing Che Geuvara who cannot believe that his Country has fallen for all of her lies and false promises.
Che Geuvara planned a Coup to overthrow the Peron Government but such was the support for Evita his plans failed and although Eva and Che never met during their lives there is a wonderful scene towards the end of the film where Eva is dying and she dreams that she is dancing in the arms of Che. The song that accompanies this waltz is called "Your Little Body's Slowly Breaking Down" and it has lyrics that bring a real lump to your throat.
The leading role of Eva Peron is played by Madonna to perfection, her voice seems to suit the songs as if they were written for her, even though they had been originally penned by Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice over 30 years earlier. This film version of Evita does however feature one brand new song called "You Must Love Me." A song that Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice wrote especially for this film, yet it sits in amongst the other tracks like it has always been there.
There are also superb acting and vocal performances from all of the other leading actors too. In particular from Antonio Banderas is his role as Che Gauvara and from Jonathon Pryce as President Juan Peron.
I think that Evita is a fantastic film and one that I have watched many times. This is a film only review but it is obviously available on DVD and has now been shown on TV many times.
If I have to be critical of this film in any way it would have to be to say that it is a somewhat difficult film to watch in places jumping from the present back to the past and then back to the present again. The fact that the story begins with Eva's death and ends in the same place could be considered rather strange but as the credits roll you realise that this helps to wrap up the story perfectly. I would suggest that for someone watching this film without any prior knowledge of Eva Peron may find some bits a little difficult to understand as the complexity and length of the story that is told here does not always allow a full explanation around some of the events.
Running Time - 129 minutes
Certification - PG (Parental Guidance)
Evita was on television a couple of weeks ago. I hadnt seen it for ages so I decided to record it. As it was shown on BBC1, it would be without commercial breaks! The lead role of Maria Eva Duarte, to become, Eva Peron and Evita, was played by the singer Madonna. Quite a remarkable change from her usual deposits into the charts!! I was very shocked the first time i wtached the film, as to how good she actually was! The film also includes Antonio Banderas, as the narrator and political revolutionary, Che Guervera. He comments throughout the film following the rise and fall of Evita. His foreign twang makes his voice quite delicious. The role of Juan Domingo Peron is played by Johnathon Pryce. Jimmy Nail also stars as a 'going now-where' Argentine tango singer, Augustus Magaldi. The characters are sufficiently developed and the quality of the acting is brilliant. Although I have not liked Antonio Banderas previously, I find him fantastic in this film. The film was made in 1996 and was produced by Tim Rice. FOllowing the sucesses of the stage musical Evita in 1979, which was also written by Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber, was bound to be a big success. The film begins with an interruption at a cinema and the announcement of the death of Evita. The spectators are cruched with grief as they try to grasp what is being said to them. This is just about the only spoken line in the film.The scene then moves to the funeral of Evita, which took place on August 11th 1952. The mourners are shown queuing to get one last glimpse of the woman who was supposed to be immortal!! It is a great time of unemployment , misery and hunger. When Che begins to tell the story, he is very bitter and his words are spat out, calling the mourning procession a 'circus'. We are then taken to the beginning of the story where Eva is a little girl at her fathers funeral in 1934.She lived in Junin She was
born illegitimate to a married man and her family was not welcome at the funeral. Her later bitterness stems from this event; 'Screw the middle classes. I will never accept them. My fathers other family were middle class' Then we are taken a few years later on when Eva is a teenager, who has fallen for a tango singer called Magaldi. She has fallen for him and believes that he can take her to a better place for a better live. She does not realise that he is in fact married. Evas unshakable desire to move to Buenos Aires is no match for the singer and he lets her follow him. Only to find herself alone and vulnerable in a strange place! We are shown how Eva went from man to man to get what she wanted, whether it was a bed to sleep in, a job! She went from model, to radio actres to stage actress, ultimately becoming the most powerful woman in South America.Although the film portrays her as a bad actress, she was 'the actress of the moment' at the time. Madonna meets Peron at a charity Ball and is instantly attracted to him, not for his looks etc but for his power and power she could obtain from him. She very quickly takes him under her wing and makes a place for herself in his life, discarding of anyone that was in the way. The tables at this point turn and the songs that Eva has been singing are now being sung by others, 'Another suitcase in another hall' is sung by the girl currently residing with Juan Peron. She is soon sent on her way and made to feel like dirt. In 1943 there was a separation between the country and the Argentine Government. This is shown with great protests and revolts. Bombs and riots raid the streets. In January 1945, there was ahuge earthquake which destroyed 90% of SAn Juan and killed 7000 people. 12000 more were injured. On the 22nd of January, just one week after the earthquake, Eva and Peron held a festival to raise funds for the redevelopment of the city.It was at this p
oint that Eva and Peron were being confirmed as socially together! As it was customary for the Presidents wife to become the honorary president of the benvolent fund, the societies ladies rejected Eva, calling her an actress and a tart. Eva was determined to destroy them and show them wrong. Although this is not portrayed in any depth in the film, there is a scene at a polo match where the upper classes are turning away from and snubbing Eva. But then they begin to realise she must have something good about her! Unfortunately Peron made himself a target for the opposition because ofhis revolts for the Labour policy. He was arrested and sent to the Islamd of Martin Garcia. Eva appealed to the policy followers and he was eventually freed. He was released on October 17th 1945, following his resignation from his position in the new military government.It is on this day that he made the speech on the balcony of Casa Rosada which has been the trademark for the film of Evita. It is here that Eva sings 'Dont cry for me Argentina'. Je announced the upcoming elections and his participation in them as a candidate. Eva and PEron marry on OCtober 22nd 1945. Eva is shown as not being the leader Peron is. ALthough she clears the way for him and makes the poeple listen, EVa did not have the boundaries set. She was too politically biased to have a true involvement.Although the film shows Eva speaking publicly because the crowds wanted her, this apparently, according to written works on Evita, is inaccurate. The crowds wanted Peron. That is where the name Evita came from. Eva wanted something which would de-feminise her. She was a lady in a time when ladies were very seldom remembered. Although the film portrays a true love of Eva, a devotion, wanton of many people, it becomes evident by the end othe film that Peron served his purpose and had got her where she wanted to be. Her door was locked when he tried to visit her on an evening and he
began to realise for himself that this was so. The fim greatly dwell son the materialistic nature of Eva, with a magnificent song called 'Rainbow High'. 'Just Christian Dior me!' The song just says, 'get me the best whatever the price, I want it!' Eva becomes ill and does die very young. Her trips arounf Europe are cut short because of her illness although she is gratefully received in all of the countries that she visited. Her death is greatly played on at the beginning and end of the film. There is a very touching scene where, I think Eva has died, but she is in a room with Che and they are dancing together. Very moving and beautiful! The thing Eva Peron was most remembered for, her Social help Foundation (1948-1955) is touched upon in the movie but not as much as really necessary to show the impact it had on Argentina at the time. She loaned money for homes, schools, hospitals. Her own 10000 pesos set up the foundation. It was begun in a disused garage and was called Las Delicias, The Delights. It is a truly beautiful fim but I feel that it leaves you with a feeling of not knowing everything you need to make sense of it all. I have read a couple of books since watching the film but still find myself a little confused! As entertainment goes it is magnificent and the soundtrack completely overcomes me everytime I hear it. If you put subtitles on you also catch alot that would me missed on hearing. The music in the film ranges massively from Choral, Concert Band, Orchestral, Jazz, Marching Band. Truly sensational. I hopeI have given you enough of a taster of the film without giving too much away. It is rather a complex film being involved in politics so I have tried to explain the settings rather than the film itself. I must say, if you havent seen it, go and hire it on video!! Thank you for reading Kerry xx
A friend of mine invited me to go to the movies with him and I agreed. There were many good movies out at theaters that I wanted to see. However, when he lead me into the showing of Evita, I was hesitant. Not only didn't I know what the movie was, I was not a big fan of Madonna. But since he was paying for the ticket, I decided that it would be rude to refuse. I am now eternally grateful for his insistence. The movie opens with the sad news that Eva Duarte de Peron has died. The country goes into shock. The funeral is grand and shows good contrast to the flash back to her own father's death, where her mother and the children are turned away from her father's funeral as bastards. While the movie is a little slow to get started, the emotion is there from the beginning. Madonna as Evita, plays a young girl hungry for success and the big city. She does so by sleeping her way to the top. A role that Madonna has wanted to play for a long time and almost didn't ~evil grin~. When the Argentines found out she was to play the role, there was a large amount of protest. It was only as the movie began production that the protests stopped. She does the role full justice. Her powerful voice and screen presence brings life to the role. Showcasing all of her talents from vocals to dancing, Madonna impressed me in this role as she has never before. Antonio Banderas as Chi is another real shock. While always a pleasure to look at, when he opens his mouth and sings with such strength and beauty, I was blown away. He has a vocal talent that I was completely surprised by. Playing the representation of the "common man" he is a type of Jiminy Cricket to Madonna's Evita. The character harbors a deep love/hate relationship with Evita which often brings the two characters into confrontation. Madonna and Antonio portray this relationship well. The two voices blend well with an on-screen magic that is very effective. As a type of narra
tor, Antonio is amusing and witty while still showing the broad range of emotions that people felt about Eva Peron. Jonathon Pryce as Juan Peron was a good choice. While his vocal skill is not as strong as the other two, his on screen presence is strong enough to carry his vocals. The role of President is well suited to him. So what he lacks in strong vocal skills is more than made up for by his ability to maintain the aura of a President. His contrast to Madonna also does a very good job of showing that Juan Peron very probably wouldn't have made it as high up as he did if Eve hadn't been behind him. The political points that the movie touches on with a volatile government and a shaky democracy is well done without being over powering or too in depth. You get the point without them cramming it down your throat. The movie also handles well the many of the questions surrounding Eva and Juan Peron. It doesn't offer answers, but instead, shows all sides. Such as the question about where much of the money from Eva's foundation went and whether Eva and Juan truly loved each other or if it was a marriage of convenience. Eva was considered by many a Saint and by others as a power hungry sinner. The movie shows both sides of the coin. Which I feel could very well be the truth. "Better to win by admitting my sin than to lose with a halo" The music and lyrics of this movie are fantastic. Many people were turned off by the fact that the entire musical was sung, in operetta style, with no spoken lines. However, I felt that the lyrics were so well done, speaking wasn't necessary. They carried you from beginning to end so well, that you almost forget that they are singing. Eva Peron's death scene is not to be missed. I am a sucker for good death scenes and this is one of my all time favorites. Madonna wrenches true emotion out of you as she portrays Eva's last minutes. I can still watch it again an
d again. So while this movie may not be for everyone, you have to see it to believe it. If someone had told me that I was going to sit down and watch a really long musical about some lady named Eva Peron, I would have not wanted to. But I did, and I will always be glad that I did.
Cast Eva Peron: Madonna Che: Antonio Banderas Juan Peron: Jonathan Pryce Premiered in Dec 1996 and was directed by Alan Parker This movie earned 3 Golden Globe Awards in January 1997. Madonna won Best Actress in a Musical/Comedy, Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber won for their original song ??You Must Love Me?? and the movie won Best Musical/Comedy. Not bad in an era that doesn’t see musicals in the same light as in days past. This movie was narrated almost completely in song. Madonna with an elegant twist. She plays a diva, a saint, a victim and a voice for the people, an actress, a singer and a woman starved for attention, playing the role of Eva Peron. To me, this was an about-face for Madonna, pertaining to her style and talent. She was able to pull-off the role of Eva Peron (Maria Eva Duarte-Peron), to match the acclaimed Broadway play by the same name as the movie. I had been involved in a local theatre production of Evita, in 1986, working on costumes among other things and fell in love with the story and the music. I had seen the play 4 times, before closing night. So when the movie came out I had to see it. After watching it 5 times on paid T.V. I finally bought the movie. Antonio Banderas did a wonderful job of playing the rebel Che, who happened to be my favourite character in this story. His role was one invisible to Eva. He moved in and out of the story telling a different side of Madonna’s character. He marched with the crowds, fought in the battles and stood up for the rebellious rights of the people. There was strong, powerful acting and singing on his part. Antonio had been a singer, in his native tongue, long before hitting the movie screen. Jonathan Pryce played a convincing role as Juan Peron, showing his power and hold over politics, leadership and people, also his love for his wife. He was imprisoned and it was Evita, who rallied to have him freed and returned to po
wer. Eva Peron was born in 1919 and died in 1952 at the tender age of 33. Her family has denied the story line that her father’s two families battled (funeral of the father). Much of the rest of the story seems not to be disputed. All of Argentina mourned her death. I have heard it said that Madonna didn’t have the strength in her voice, compared with the original stage production and I have to agree (I have both sets of CD’s) but she did a wonderful job and truly showed another side of her talent. One I prefer over her usual style of music. Also it has been said that she has a remarkable resemblance to the real Eva Peron and this can be seen in the movie, as many of the pictures are the original Eva. The movie is one well worth the viewing and even purchasing.
This film SUCKS big time. As my bloke would say, it blows monkeys. It's horrible. I am a long time Madonna fan - she's a musical genius. I watched her on the Tube when she was noone. And I supported her foray into acting wholeheartedly. Unfortunately, I have to admit that she can't act for beans, no matter how hard she tries. She was marginally interesting in " A League of Their Own" but otherwise - crap. So, I watched this film having read the odd review that said she wasn't THAT bad and in full support of our Madge, wanting to enjoy it ... And it's so bad that I laughed. If I knew her personally, I would be embarrassed. Her acting, if you can call it that, is wooden. Ok so she has studied tapes of Eva Peron and tried to copy her mannerisms ... but she aint quite got it. Her much lauded "new style" of singing sounds like the Madonna we all know and love, although there is a dignity and a little extra power to her voice in this film not present in her usual pop stuff. And it's not just her ... Who told Antonio he could sing??? He can't, he just can't and he shouldn't even be trying. His singing voice is weak. His dancing, I will admit, isn't bad and he IS very easy on the eye. He plays a semi-narrator who interacts with Evita at times during the film. Jonathon Price plays Peron. He just acts. I can't say his performance was amazing as it wasn't. I knew, as with all the other actors, that he was a man playing a part. I never believed in any of them - the mark of a great actor is that s/he makes you forget they are acting. There are a few other known faces in Evita, all bland, all uninteresting, all just acting. Andrea Corr was in it for a nanosecond. I missed her while I nipped to the loo. It's painfully slow, very dull indeed. The songs are terriblly performed. I can't say that the songs were butchered - they are all passably per
formed ... but anyone could do the same. The score was much better than the actual songs - the incidental music better than the main songs??? Shows how bad it is! The best thing about this film is the Argentinian scenery, the countryside. You don't see too much of it but what you do see is beautiful. Really you should watch this just to see how bad it is!
After more than a decade of false starts and several potential directors, the popular Andrew Lloyd Webber-Tim Rice musical finally made it to the big screen with Alan Parker (The Commitments) at the helm and Madonna in the coveted title role of Argentina's first lady, Eva Perón. A triumph of production design, costuming, cinematography, and epic-scale pageantry, the film follows the rise of Eva Perón to the level of supreme social and political celebrity in the 1940s. Like Madonna, Perón was a material girl (she was only 33 when she died); she was instrumental in the political success of her husband, Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce). But Eva was also a supremely tragic figure whose life was essentially hollow at its core despite the lavish benefits of her nearly goddess-like status. The film Evita has a similar quality--it's visually astonishing but emotionally distant, and benefits greatly from the singing commentary of Ché (Antonia Banderas), who serves as a passionate chorus to guide the viewer through the elaborate parade of history. --Jeff Shannon