Newest Review: ... 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- i... more
she's says not to cry but you can't help but feel sad
Member Name: mrbusy62
Advantages: guilty pleasure
Disadvantages: you'll need the hankies!!
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 na´ve 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.
Summary: stunning music, stunning scenes, sad story