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“Cats” Sparkles and Resonates





Review by John Delia

One of the best family films to come along in a while the movie Cats it’s a fun musical as well. Fill with mystery, fantasy and some drama, the film really sparkles and radiates for all ages. Not just for girls the film should appeal to every family member as the songs are all relevant to today and the dialogue gets touching and heartfelt. If you see one family film this holiday make it be Cats.

The story opens with Victoria (Francesca Hayward) cat being abandoned at the door of an old theatre in London. Filled with Jellicle felines who have gathered for the yearly competition, she’s curious as to why so many. She finds out that the event is a ball where one cat will be chosen to rise up to Heaviside and allow it to return to a new Jellicle life to live again amongst the others in their community. Being curious, not all the cats accept Victoria right away except Mungojerrie (Danny Colins) and Rumpleteazer (Naoimh Morgan). But, arriving to lead the Jellicle Ball, Old Deuteronomy (Judi Dench) finds Victoria worthy to stay.

(from left) Macavity (Idris Elba) and Victoria (Francesca Hayward, back to camera) in “Cats,” co-written and directed by Tom Hooper.

As for the contest the sinister Macavity (Idris Elba), who wants to be the chosen one that gets a new life, starts to eliminate the competition one by one. Director and writer Tom Hooper does a great job of creating all the excitement, bringing all the cats to life with individualized costumes and providing a stage to play out the story that’s lifelike. His production mirrors the Broadway show, but with the magic of computer graphics makes it almost an animated wonder.

The cast gives terrific performances lighting up the screen with a story that should touch everyone’s heart. And, best of all the film is a family affair that should have everyone humming or singing the tunes well after they have left the theater. There are options on seeing the movie, but if you have a theater that offers Dolby Atmos it does make a difference in the quality of sound and projection.

Jennifer Hudson as Grizabella in “Cats,” co-written and directed by Tom Hooper.

It’s hard to choose a standout actor from the film, but I would give the nod to newcomer Francesca Hayward for one of the best first acting I’ve seen in a long time. Hayward was trained at The Royal Ballet School and joined the cast of Cats in 2018 playing the part of the abandoned cat Victoria who gets taken in by the Jellicles. It’s her dancing, singing and acting that makes the film work interlocking her character with all the others in the fun film.

FINAL ANALYSIS: A very good family film that delivers music, comedy and a heartfelt drama. (4.5 out of 5 Stars).

Additional Film Information:
Cast: James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift, Rebel Wilson, and introducing Francesca Hayward
Directed and co-written by: Tom Hooper
Genre: Musical, Drama
MPAA Rating: PG for some rude and suggestive humor
Running Time: 1 hr. 50 min
Opening Date: December 25, 2019
Distributed by: Universal Pictures
Released in: Theaters

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