The musical film, Hairspray, (2007), is a reboot of the original that released in 1988. The film is set in Baltimore in the 1960’s. The movie follows a highschool girl whose dream is to dance on the “Corny Collins show.” The girl is Tracy Turnblad (Nikki Blonsky) who is overweight and always has a song in her back pocket. When she wins the spot in “The Corny Collins Show” she becomes an overnight sensation. Tracy’s hair soon becomes a hallmark and is sold in boxes at every store. Tracy deals with the dismay of Velma (Michelle Pfeiffer) and her daughter Amber (Brittany Snow) for not fitting social standards of beauty. Penny (Amanda Bynes) has a very strict, religious mother who watches over her every move and when she falls in love with a black boy in the film, her mother becomes furious. The interracial love really shows how harsh it was for interracial couples during this time period. The final performance collides the black dancers with the white dancers to the song “You Can’t Stop the Beat” that tells the audience that being racist in a world filled with so many cultures is impossible; just as impossible as it is to stop a beat. With issues of racial segregation, fat-shaming, self-love and unmasking white supremacy, Hairspray is a fun movie to watch for all ages. There are some big name co-stars including: Zac Efron on Link, Tracy’s love interest, Amanda Bynes as Penny, Tracy’s best-friend, John Travolta as Mrs. Turnblad and Queen Latifah as Motormouth Maybelle.
Hairspray is brightly colored, just like the 60’s, but it deals with issues of discrimination. There are different levels to the discrimination in the film. The main character of every recreation of Hairspray is white, heterosexual and overweight. Tracy is constantly scrutinized for her weight and how she should be ashamed of how she looks. Her mother is a reflection of how society shuns people who do not have an hourglass figure or fit Western standards of beauty. The film also deals with racial discrimination because it pins whites against blacks and physically shows signs that separated blacks from the whites. By segregating these children and showing a protest in the film showcases how the United States reacted to racist ideals. Velma who is played by Michelle Pfeiffer, is the epitome of white feminism and white supremacy. She stands as the matriarch to the Corny Collins Show, but her ideals prove to be obsolete by the end of the film. The way Velma reflects her own beliefs on her daughter Amber can speak to today and how racist mindsets are generational and can be passed down. Overall, the film is warning audiences about white supremacy and how that looks in film. The film utilizes teenagers to symbolize the future which is like today’s political climate. The film also addresses religion and how religion can affect one’s views and one’s ability to accept someone. I would give this film a 9/10 because it is musically fun and includes issues that are still occurring today regardless of the disparity in years.
Release Date: July 20, 2007
Starring: Nikki Blonsky, Zac Efron, Amanda Bynes, Michelle Pfeiffer, Queen Latifah, John Travolta, Brittany Snow, Christopher Walken
Director: Adam Shankman
Distributor: New Line Cinema
Genre: Comedy, Musical, Drama, Romance
Audience: Parental Guidance Suggested
Runtime: 117 min.
Autumn Skye D-Saldana | Writing Contributor
B.A. | Communications | Cal State Univ – San Marcos
Autumn is a fun loving girl who is currently working on a Communications BA and Women Studies minor at CSU – San Marcos. She loves singing, traveling and watching movies. She loves all things, Disney and Marvel. She aspires to be an advocate for undocumented immigrants and hopes to create a more positive narrative for the Latinx community in her years to come. Autumn loves writing and hopes to share her thoughts with the world someday. Instagram @OhDearAutumn| View My Articles
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