The hit musical based on the life of Eva Perón (Evita Duarte), a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Domingo Perón, and the most belove... Read allThe hit musical based on the life of Eva Perón (Evita Duarte), a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Domingo Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.The hit musical based on the life of Eva Perón (Evita Duarte), a B-picture Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president Juan Domingo Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.
Evita, played by Madonna, was born into poverty in rural Argentina. She was able to climb the social ladder through her numerous male relationships and acting career. Eventually she marries Juan Peron, played by Jonathan Price, who is an up and coming Colonel in the Argentine military. Evita then becomes the first lady when a military lead coup makes Peron President. As first lady, Evita is extremely popular with the general Argentinean population because she is considered to understand the needs of the lower class, as she came from a poor background herself. Peron exploits his wife's popularity by having Evita tour the world and run charitable foundations. As the story develops the narrator portrays Evita as increasingly more negative and aloof to her husband's repressive actions and policies.
From a historical standpoint Evita has many inconsistencies, however, the general storyline is factual and based on Mary Main's biography of Eva Peron. Unfortunately, Mary Main's biography has been criticized as biased because much of her evidence was attained from anti-Peron sources. As a result the movie also shares this historical criticism, and many of the events and portrayals in the film have been disputed. The films' suggestion that Evita was a terrible actress who slept her way to the top has been disproved by historians. Likewise, the film's portrayal of Evita's arrival in Buenos Aires as mistress of a married man has also been proved false. Nonetheless, the core historical events portrayed in the film are on the whole extremely accurate. The movie does a particularly good job of illustrating the social unrest and governmental corruption rampant in Argentina during the 1940's and 1950's. The film also correctly addresses the large gap between the rich and poor during the time period and its relative implications on society. All the dates, events and characters are based on historical fact, except for Che the narrator. This gives the movie a pseudo-realism that is unique from other musicals. As an educational film, Evita could be very helpful in depicting the events surrounding Peron's rise to power, as long as one notes the biases and alleged inconsistencies ahead of time.
From an entertainment perspective, Evita is thoroughly enjoyable. Antonio Banderas in particular, does a fabulous job in his role of Che. Madonna, in the role she was "born to play", is spotty at times, but on the whole is very commendable. The music, already famous from the play, is well incorporated into the movie and generally well sang by the cast. The simple cinematography allows the movie to progress very smoothly and incorporate Che in scenes the play never could. The story is widely held as a classic and is quite entertaining. Evita's realism allows viewers to associate themselves with aspects of Evita or any of the other characters lives, while the music makes the movie easy to follow and family friendly.
Clearly Evita is worth watching as it is both entertaining and educational, a rare combination. Although, one must be preemptively warned that the movie has been criticized from a historical viewpoint as being unfairly negative toward Evita. The movie also portrays the many charitable and positive actions lead by Evita. The movie makes no claims to be entirely historically accurate, and subsequently must be understood as entertainment first, and history second. Still, the movie provides a strong background in Argentine history and politics that are relevant even today. On a scale of one to ten I would rate the movie a nine for entertainment and a seven for historical accuracy.
- May 5, 2005