Musical movies of 2021, ranked from worst to best


2021 has been one of the best years for movie musicals in a long time. It might not be the golden age, but there is a possibility that there will be a revitalization of the genre. Whether you’re a casual music fan or a musical theater enthusiast, this year seemed to have a little something for everyone.

From sprawling big-budget movies to small original independent images, here are the musicals of 2021, ranked.

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7. Cinderella


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Image via Amazon

Kay Canon of Perfect celebrity wears her own adaptation of the classic Cinderella. In this rendition, Cannon travels to his familiar wheelhouse using modern pop and rock hits and actually Cinderella become more jukebox than Rodgers and Hammerstein. With the pop star Camila Cabelo like Cinderella as well as Broadway royalty, Billy Porter and Idina Menzel, he had the best of intentions. It may have fallen flat with the reviews, but it drew a large following on Amazon Prime. There probably won’t be any Oscar nominations for this one, but if you’re able to put expectations aside, it can be a fun watch.

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6. Dear Evan Hansen


Kaitlyn Dever and Ben Platt in Dear Evan Hansen
Image via Universal

After winning the Tony in 2017, plans began for a film adaptation of Dear Evan Hansen. Foundry Ben platt because the main character sparked some controversy when he was 28 and played a 16-year-old. To be fair, no one in the main cast of HS was under 24, and Platt is notable in the role he played on Broadway, so the review can be a bit of a stretch. This is the story of Evan Hansen, a high school student who claims to be an acquaintance’s best friend, Connor (Colton ryan) who recently committed suicide. His lie, seemingly harmless at first, quickly spirals out of control. Connor’s parents (Amy Adams and Danny pino) bond with Evan and he begins a romance with Connor’s sister, Zoe (Kaitlyn Dever). There are some problematic elements to the story, but it can also come under the guise of everyone doing silly things at 16. The point is, you are growing and learning. And Evan Hansen does. The film gets bad press, but it’s not as bad as they say. Worth it for the music of Benj Pasek and Justin paul who wrote hymns that will stand the test of time.


5. Anne


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Image via UGC Distribution

If you are a traditionalist, this might not be the musical for you. However, if you’re in the mood to see something completely different, this movie won’t disappoint. Henri (Adam Pilot) is a subversive comedian who marries beloved opera singer Ann (Marion Cotillard). Their relationship is tumultuous but results in a child together named Annette. Plot-level, it’s hard to describe what happens from there, but it’s a neo-noir psychological thriller that will stick with you long after the credits roll. From the minds of Ron and Russell Mael, better known as Sparks (Refer to Edgar wright documentary The Sparks Brothers for their story), this musical is brave, edgy, and a mad rush if you can hang in there. If anything, this is an example that there is no one way to write a musical and between the visuals, the performances and the concepts of great art, Annette is unforgettable.


4. In the heights


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Image via Warner Bros.

Before Hamilton, Lin-Manuel Miranda swept the Tony’s 2008 with his first musical, In the heights. The film adaptation finally arrived in June after a year of delay. Anthony ramos plays the role of Usnavi as he introduces us to his daily life in New York’s Washington Heights neighborhood. Usnavi has big dreams of starting over in his native Cuba as he watches his neighborhood succumb to the gentrification around him. It’s a city-wide blackout that brings the neighborhood together to celebrate what they’ve created. Director Jon M. Chu magically makes Washington Heights a cozy place in the vastness of New York City. Abuela (Olga Merediz, reviving her role on Broadway) will strike your heart so much that you’ll practically smell the food simmering in her kitchen. Miranda’s upbeat, inviting dance score makes it a fun summer movie, even in the dead of winter.


3. Everyone’s talking about Jamie


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Image via Amazon

Jamie New (Max Harwood) dreams of being a drag queen. But being a 17-year-old gay man in a small town in the north of England, his dreams seem far from his reach. His mother (Sarah Lancashire), his best friend (Lauren Patel), and the former local drag queen, Hugo (Richard E. Grant) are supportive as best they can, but it’s Jamie who needs to learn to be comfortable with who he is. The film itself is a colorful and joyful celebration without forgetting the emotional turmoil and adversity it can take to be who you really are. Based on a true story, the musical began in London’s West End and will make its US debut in Los Angeles in 2022. The film is authentic and entertaining and an example of what a great musical can be. .

2. History of the west side


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Remaking a classic musical is no small feat, but let it be Steven spielberg to make it work. With a gritty touch of reality and a more culturally relevant cast than the beloved original, Spielberg is able to walk the fine line of reinvention and pay homage. These are the ladies who really shine in this version as a newcomer Rachel Zegler (Maria), Broadway vet Ariana DeBose (Anita), and EGOT recipient, Rita moreno (Valentina) guides us perfectly through the timeless tragedy. With a new choreography by Justin Peck and a screenplay by the Pulitzer Prize winner Tony kushner, this film was destined for greatness. Despite the disappointment of the first box office returns, this version will surely be considered a classic, alongside its predecessor.


1. Tic, Tic… Boom!


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Image via Netflix

Imagine being about to see your dream come true only to die the night before it happens. It sounds like a movie, but sadly it’s the tragic truth of Jonathan larson. The film examines Jonathan’s life before he writes To rent and his struggle to leave a legacy before he runs out of time. Andrew Garfield, in an Oscar-worthy performance, plays Larson as his entire world is engulfed in his desire to get his musical Superbia remark. His health, relationships and friendships are at stake, but the success of his job is all that matters. Where is it? Lin-Manuel Miranda makes his impressive directorial debut bringing this one-man show turned biopic to life. Broadway fanatics rejoice in the laundry list of cameos from Broadway legends of all generations, but this really is Garfield. His entire embodiment of Larson is weird, and his heartbreaking performance of the song, “Why” is a cinematic moment for the ages. Whether it’s a die-hard Larson fan or just someone who wants to give their all to make their dreams come true, this film will be a testament to the ambition of artists around the world.


Honorable mentions


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Image via NBC

Live musicals – There is a tradition of recording Broadway musicals on their Broadway stages with the original actors and making them into a movie. It has been done for a long time (and yet not enough). When Hamilton released their recording in the summer of 2020, it was clear that there was a large following for this type of musical. In 2021, we saw two of these productions receive this treatment. Diana: the musical will close on Broadway on December 19, 2021, so at this point seeing it on Netflix will be the only way to watch it. And Come from afar which was robbed of a Tony Award in 2017 is available on Apple + and is a must-see masterpiece.

TelevisionAnnie: Live aired on NBC in early December continuing the new trend of live musicals on network television. With stars like Harry Connick, Jr., Nicole scherzinger, Taraji P. Henson, and newcomer, Celina smith as the main character it was definitely one of the best live releases to date. It is available on Hulu and Peacock for streaming.

Apple + has also set its sights on the ring with a 6-episode musical series, Schmigadoon. Featuring Cecily strong and Keegan-Michael Key like a couple who find themselves somehow trapped in a musical. The show features many stars such as Fred armisen, Kristin chenoweth, Martin runs, Jamie Camil, Alan cumming Just to name a few. No plan has been announced for a second season, but hopefully.


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