‘Pennies From Heaven’ Review
The film that I correlated most similar to Pennies From Heaven was O’ Brother Where Art Thou. They are both musical films that aren’t real musical in the classic sense. Each plays with the idea telling a narrative story by using music to drive the plot. The major difference between these two lip sync musical is that O’ Brother is fun and delightful and Pennies is rather tragic and sad.
Musicals in before this time were known for their upbeat tones, Pennies clashes its’ dark plot with bright and happy music interludes. This perfectly establishes the difference between the character’s reality and want they dream of
The musical numbers are lavish, well choreographed and performed. My favorite number may have been the school children’s upbeat baby grand piano dance, or the Christopher Walken’s solo, or the Vaudeville trio was mighty impressive.
I think the film would be mostly enjoyed for its musical numbers alone. I love watching a good musical with my mother but I would never feel comfortable watching this one with her. I would show her the musical numbers as stand alones.
But the film is rather genius in portraying the time in US history. This is a film about the American dream and one faithless man who does all the wrong things to achieve this dream. Sadly he looks for sex and money to make him happy and in the end he achieves none of these things. HE is one of the most unlikable characters I have ever scene on the screen, but still I wanted to see him succeed. From the start we see that his idea of life is so twisted and convoluted that nothing good could come from his life style.
Pennies From Heaven is a film that made very uncomfortable at times, but after each uncomfortable moment I was met with another grand musical sequence. I would love to see a movie with this same period and style take on a more upbeat tone. I think it is a movie that could relate to certain kind of person who is conflicted with some of the same struggles; I just am not that person. Pennies From Heaven took a risk that was both entertaining and thought provoking. Tragically, I think it will push away the average audience member.