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Although it stumbles a bit throughout, Evita remains a stunning movie musical that finds its rhythm after the first hour or so. The scenes that work will sweep viewers up in the political and personal stratosphere of Argentina's most beloved first lady, Eva Perón. In those moments, whether she's addressing a cheering crowd of peasants or flirting with her future husband (and the country's future president), Madonna embodies Evita, and her vocal performances communicate what she has never seemed capable of as a traditional actress. Other musical sequences -- particularly the earlier ones, as well as those that feature blaring rock-music guitars -- feel awkward. Throughout the movie, it's hard to accept Banderas in a role that requires him to sing all his dialogue. But without him, the movie would be a one-sided glorification of Evita.
Musical numbers such as "A New Argentina" capture the excitement and energy of the Peróns' political campaign. The most memorable sequences are Pryce's post-election speech and Madonna's touching performance of "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina," both delivered from the presidential balcony as thousands of supporters cry "Pe-rón! Pe-rón!" in a chant that almost sounds like a heartbeat. The movie includes a depiction of this "Rainbow Tour" and briefly hints at allegations that the Perons were Nazi sympathizers. It also examines the extensive network of social service organizations that Evita helped establish in her country.
Talk to your kids about ...
- In theaters: December 14, 1996
- On DVD or streaming: March 25, 1998
- Cast: Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Madonna
- Director: Alan Parker
- Studio: Miramax
- Genre: Musical
- Topics: History, Music and Sing-Along
- Run time: 135 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG
- MPAA explanation: thematic elements, images of violence and some mild language
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