Madonna tackles the title role in Alan Parker’s ambitious recounting of the brief, amazing life of former Argentine first lady Eva Perón. Presented almost entirely in song and narrated by Antonio Banderas as a fictional everyman, the film charts the alternately revered and reviled Evita’s rise from poverty to become a film and radio actress; her relationship with President Juan Perón (Jonathan Pryce); and her tragic death from cancer at age 33.
Banderas, a surprisingly moving singer, and the inimitable Madonna, who took voice lessons before filming commenced to expand her vocal range, provide the emotional bedrock for the eminently enjoyable film with their charismatic screen presences. The music, including the Oscar-winning song ‘You Must Love Me,’ weaves an entrancing web, and the sets and costumes are awe inspiring. Parker does a fine job of adapting Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical for the big screen. The director’s vision shines clearly here: Like PINK FLOYD: THE WALL, EVITA is an enchanting mixture of epic fairy tale and sociopolitical psychodrama.