After being one of the first and most popular movie genres, Musical Movies died down for a while and then made a magical comeback in the 21st century. From wonderful soundtracks to astounding choreographies, here are the best movie musicals since the year 2000.
NB: This selection is based on a personal choice, so don’t be shocked to find out some classical musicals didn’t find their place on this list.
- Chicago (2002)
It’s the story of Roxie Hart, who kills her lover and convinces her husband to pay for her defense; and Catherine Zeta-Jones as Velma Kelly, who broke up her vaudeville sister act by murdering her husband and her sister while they were engaged in a sport not licensed for in-laws. « Chicago » continues the reinvention of the musical that started with « Moulin Rouge. The movie is a dazzling song and dance extravaganza, with just enough words to support the music and allow everyone to catch their breath between songs. It leaves you with the need to get up into the spotlight, sparkle and steal the show!
- Mamma Mia (2008)
Donna (Meryl Streep), an hotelier in the Greek islands, is preparing for her daughter’s wedding with the help of two of her friends. Meanwhile Sophie, the spirited bride, has a plan. She secretly invites three men from her mother’s past in hope of meeting her real father and having him escort her down the aisle on her big day. Any movie starring Meryl Streep is a work of art, no questions asked. Throw in a funny interesting plot and most importantly the whole famous ABBA soundtrack and you get a super popular masterpiece. A fun movie full of strong independent women, it’s a big YES from us, and it’s famous for a reason!
- Pitch Perfect (2012)
Before you even know it, you start singing along to popular songs taken to another level. A sassy free spirit (Anna Kendrick) rocks up to college to help an a cappella group accept their failings, embrace diversity and hit the right notes for the regional competition. The performances are fresh, entertaining and interesting as the songs you know are turned into an a cappella and well-choreographed show. The soundtrack’s ironic bent might dissuade older viewers (Simple Minds are venerated), but they’d be missing out on one of the best musical comedies.
- Annie (2014)
It’s a hard knock life, especially for orphaned Annie. Wonderfully portrayed this time by the black actor Quvenzhané Wallis, her optimist character skips through the streets to the rhythm of upbeat songs, the old and the new, with an incredible performance of Sia’s “Opportunity”. Wallis conveys the energy and perkiness of her character convincingly and charmingly in this heartwarming story so close and yet so far from the original, the modern version of the musical is more of a facelift than an update.
- La La Land (2016)
If something brought musical comedies back to our era, it is La La Land. An unusual romance happening in the heart of Hollywood, exposing how hard it is to follow your dream, either being an actor in this overbooked industry or not letting the Jazz music die. Absolutely wonderful songs you’ll want to know by heart, tap dancing sequences that will make you hop on your feet and dance, a huge load of filmic references and a surprising ending compared to the Hollywood usual’s. Although the controversial choice of actors who never sang or danced raised some eyebrows, Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone are marked forever in my mind as the “ones who dream”.
- Coco (2017)
Disney and Pixar took one risky step in deciding to portray the Mexican culture in its newest movie… And it was the best risk they had ever taken. It’s the heart-warming story of Miguel, a young Mexican boy whose dream is to become a musician but whose family absolutely loathes music and strictly forbids it. He then embarks on an extraordinary journey to the Land of the Dead, to unlock the real story behind his family’s history. A colorful, magical and stunning movie who succeeds perfectly in portraying the Mexican culture in all its details, while teaching kids moral values and having sweet and entertaining songs such as “Remember Me”, which won an Oscar for “Best Original Song”.
- The Greatest Showman (2017)
Hugh Jackman, Zac Efron and Zendaya starring in the same movie might appear as a weird combo. But what it does is make us incredibly surprised. While telling us the story of P.T. Barnum and his circus, they confidently adress issues such as greed, intolerance and racism with a couple wishing to “Rewrite the stars”. Extravagant decors and costumes, hit songs with strong and passionate voices and astounding choreographies such as Zendaya’s flying trapezist performance, the whole thing is a pleasure to the eyes and a mix of emotions that leave us yearning for more and more. As P.T. Barnum famously said, “The noblest art is that of making others happy.” We were happy, hoodwinked and left with hopes and dreams to fulfill.