Project Title

Film Analysis-Hairspray

Academic department under which the project should be listed

RCHSS - English

Faculty Sponsor Name

Anna Weinstein

Disciplines

Film and Media Studies

Abstract (300 words maximum)

Film Analysis: Hairspray

This film does an excellent job of being light-hearted and realistic at the same time. The screenwriter, Leslie Dixon, did a great job expressing the reality of racial, gender, and physical discrimination while making it an enjoyable watch. Hairspray, the 2007 film, is a remake of the 1988 film of the same name. It is a musical taking place in Baltimore during the 1960's and follows a friendly teen, Tracy Turnblad. Her mind is always focused on other things besides school. She always gets in trouble in school when she eventually gets sent to detention. There, she finds African American people having a grand time listening to music and dancing. At first, they are hesitant because it is not normal for someone like Tracy to be so accepting, but they warm up to her and teach her a few moves. People constantly overlook Tracy’s talent because of her physical appearance. However, this does not stop her from following her dreams of earning a spot on "The Corny Collins Show," a popular craze filled with singing and dancing of peers her age. She instantly becomes an overnight sensation, igniting jealousy in those who are victims of getting the spotlight stolen from them. In this study, I examine Leslie Dixon’s ability in adapting the 1988 film Hairspray for contemporary viewers in 2007. I also want to analyze how she highlights racial, gender, and physical discrimination, portraying realistic depictions of characters struggling with this conflict, while still maintaining the lighthearted tone.

Project Type

Oral Presentation (15-min time slots)

How will this be presented?

No

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Film Analysis-Hairspray

Film Analysis: Hairspray

This film does an excellent job of being light-hearted and realistic at the same time. The screenwriter, Leslie Dixon, did a great job expressing the reality of racial, gender, and physical discrimination while making it an enjoyable watch. Hairspray, the 2007 film, is a remake of the 1988 film of the same name. It is a musical taking place in Baltimore during the 1960's and follows a friendly teen, Tracy Turnblad. Her mind is always focused on other things besides school. She always gets in trouble in school when she eventually gets sent to detention. There, she finds African American people having a grand time listening to music and dancing. At first, they are hesitant because it is not normal for someone like Tracy to be so accepting, but they warm up to her and teach her a few moves. People constantly overlook Tracy’s talent because of her physical appearance. However, this does not stop her from following her dreams of earning a spot on "The Corny Collins Show," a popular craze filled with singing and dancing of peers her age. She instantly becomes an overnight sensation, igniting jealousy in those who are victims of getting the spotlight stolen from them. In this study, I examine Leslie Dixon’s ability in adapting the 1988 film Hairspray for contemporary viewers in 2007. I also want to analyze how she highlights racial, gender, and physical discrimination, portraying realistic depictions of characters struggling with this conflict, while still maintaining the lighthearted tone.

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