December 30, 2020

PURE JOY:

In Fact, Eurovision Song Contest: The Story of Fire Saga Is One of the Best Movies of the Year (KAREN HAN, DEC 30, 2020, Slate)

For me, it's the movie that best captures a total sense of (perhaps naïve) earnestness--you have to shed any cynicism you're holding onto in order to fully enjoy it, but once you do, the experience is like hitting the drop on a roller coaster, but for two hours straight. The key scene, for me, is the "song-along," which places Ferrell and McAdams at a party attended by real Eurovision stars (Conchita Wurst, Netta, etc.) and pulls them into an impromptu jam session. The songs that the stars blend together--Cher's "Believe," ABBA's "Waterloo," the Black Eyed Peas' "I Gotta Feeling," Celine Dion's "Ne Partez Pas Sans Moi," and Madonna's "Ray of Light"--epitomize the spirit behind the entire film, which is to say, cheesy, unabashedly joyful, and strangely life-affirming if you open your heart. You cannot enjoy these songs while still clinging to any sense of irony, nor can you enjoy this movie while turning your nose up at the idea of "lowbrow" entertainment.

While American Utopia is the closest thing we have to a concert experience this year, Eurovision Song Contest is the closest thing we have to a karaoke party, detached from the bounds of reality--the kind of party where you don't have to worry about some random guy grinding up on you, the kind of party where everyone's just there to sing their hearts out and have a good time. (At the risk of outing myself as even more of a nerd, the song-along scene was the closest I've ever felt to replicating my collegiate a cappella parties.) The stars sing directly into the camera, both inviting the viewer to participate in the party and giving up any sense of "seriousness." Is it deranged that I cry even just watching the song-along as a YouTube clip? Maybe, but it speaks to how well the scene works as a celebration.

Posted by at December 30, 2020 8:17 AM

  

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