Welcome back to another Film Friday! This week, I am really excited to be reviewing another film within my favorite genre of films, the musical. This film is truly a hidden gem. Made in 1992, Newsies tells the true story of the 1899 newsie strike in New York City. With an amazing musical score to help tell the story, Newsies also includes an amazing cast of young actors, including a 17-year-old Christian Bale.
Newsies begins by following a bunch of newspaper boys going out for another day of work. We meet the leader of the group, Jack “Cowboy” Kelly (Christian Bale), who, as one of the older newsies, takes newbies David Jacobs (David Moscow) and his younger brother Les (Luke Edwards) under his wing to teach them the proper way to be a newsie. While teaching them he is introduced to their family, which is something Jack knows little about considering he lives on his own, claiming his family is out west in Santa Fe. As I previously stated, Newsies tells the story of the 1899 newsboy strike, which was caused by rising prices charged to the newsies by companies for their newspapers to sale. Their cause is aided with the help of Bryan Denton (Bill Pullman), who is a local newspaper writer who not only writes articles about their fight, but gives them inside information about the strike. While this is going on, the viewer learns more about Jack’s back story and how the other boys look up to him as a leader. You start to feel for the character and enjoy the story that transpires.
I am so upset that it took me so long to see this film, as this film was incredible. From the story, to the music, to the choreography this film had me smiling from the opening credits to the ending credits. The music, written by J.A.C Redford and Alan Menken, was extremely upbeat and very reminiscent of old school musical films. Also one thing which was interesting about the music, was it sounded like it could have been written in that time era. It had a very authentic sound to it and made the story really come to life. Some of my favorite songs were King of New York, Seize the Day, and Santa Fe, which is a solo by Christian Bale. The music has that Disney charm, which just gets stuck in your head and just stays there. I watched this film five days ago, and I still have King of New York and Seize the Day stuck in my head. Along with the songs, the choreography was outstanding. A normal occurrence with musicals is that the choreography is too advanced, making it unlikely that normal people would just randomly dance like that. However, the choreography in this film really fit the characters. A lot of the dance moves, while technically graceful, really were suited for the characters. There were also some street-esque dance moves that were incorporated to the choreography, which made the dances seem authentic and realistic. One example to watch is Seize the Day, where there was an incorporation of martial arts in the dance moves, making the choreography just outstanding.
The cast, which predominately was made up of young adults, was shockingly strong (keep your eye out for some “Mighty Ducks”). Christian Bale was cast perfectly as the tough but sensitive Jack Kelly, and David Moscow was outstanding as his sidekick. The rest of the cast was so believable as newsies that I almost went out and got a job as a newsie. It was just an all around enjoyable film.
All in all, Newsies was an enjoyable way to spend a rainy Saturday evening. The cast of young adults was awesome, the music really helped the story, and the choreography made me want to take up tap dancing. Like always, I leave you with a question: what do you think is worth standing up for in your life?
Until next time, Happy viewing.
4 out of 5 Stars