With the haunting melodies of Andrew Lloyd Weber’s music playing in my mind, I write in defense of Tom Hooper’s film adaptation of the musical "CATS." The movie has endured a public beat-down by a seemingly ravenous pack of canines, and even my hometown newspaper has joined the hue and cry as see in the Ruckus’review by journalist Jake Iverson.

There are some, however, who see beyond the current trend of negativity. Stephanie Zacharak writes in Time: “'CATS' is awful, but it is also kind of great. It is sometimes tacky, sometimes overworked, and yet often strangely beautiful.”

Any serious student of dance would be well advised to see this film with choreography by Andy Blankenbueler, three-time Tony Award winning choreographer and 2018 Kennedy Honors recipient for "Hamilton." The dancers execute classical ballet, modern, jazz (Fosse, and 1930s Busby Berkley), hip-jop and break with equal aplomb and attack. Francesca Hayward is a lovely ingénue, her batterie crisp and precise, adagio pure and allegro elevated and fleet. The Pavane in the Jellicle Ball scene is punctuated by breath exhalations which enhance the moon-struck mood. Taylor Swift’s number is a show-stopper, all Fasse turned in/ parallel first and second positions, arms draped in fifth, (Soviet Syllabus).  

My favorite cameo was Ian McKellen’s portrayal of a washed up thespian of "Royal Shakespeare Co." calibre, reduced to a shuffling yet tremendous presence.

The Daily Mail’s’ Brian Viner is one of the few critics who praised the film, saying: “While weird, it is still a terrific spectacle.” I loved this weird yet wonderful film!

Rena Easton

Manhattan