Time: 134 mins.
Won Academy Award for Best Song. Nominations for Best Art Direction, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing and Best Sound.
Movies made out of hit Broadway shows bring upon themselves a ton of extra scrutiny and criticism right from the start. "Will it be as good as the play?", "Will the film makers capture the essence of the piece?", blah, blah, blah. This happens with popular novels as well, but since there's no one burned into the public consciousness as the lead characters, the producers have a little more leeway. In the case of EVITA, Alan Parker was behind the eight ball the minute he decided to cast Madonna as Eva Peron. Not being a big fan or detractor of Ms. M, it really didn't matter to me. I think Madonna has an OK voice and I have a lot of respect for her as a business person. However, she is not a great actress or versatile singer, causing many people to immediately pass on this film.
Now I've seen her in a few other films and the only ones where she's any good are the ones in which she plays characters close to her own personality. Some would argue that Eva Peron wasn't a big stretch for her. Maybe not, but the character is so watered down in this version who could tell. Everyone was clammering at Oscar time that Madonna should have been nominated, but I have to say I left Evita with the same knowledge of Eva Peron I went in with very little. Having never seen the play, I don't know how accurate an adaptation this is. However, I'd venture that the play is somewhat more illuminating about the life of this extraordinary woman, otherwise it wouldn't be such a success. That being said, I don't understand what happened on the way to the screen.
The Eva Peron showcased here is a shallow, loose, power-hungry woman who through some sort of miracle becomes a major force on the political scene. How a simple village girl with a long line of lovers manages to get an older politician to marry her is a mystery never solved. Her sudden role as a world figure is equally mystifying. Clearly campaigning for her husband while he was in jail (for reasons never made clear) and running Argentina with him made her a popular national role model. However, her motivations are never made clear. She seems to end up with the life she always wanted, except for the lack of love from the one man who really mattered, her husband. Certainly, money and power had something to do with her actions, but I was desperate to connect to this larger-than-life lady. Her life left an enduring legacy in Argentina, and yet I feel I learned very little about why her actions were so important to this nation and the world at large.