The 2002 Chicago Film

March 31, 2021


Dory Baker

Chicago starring Renée Zellweger, Catherine Zeta-Jones, and Richard Gere is a film adaptation of the 1975 stage musical Chicago

The storyline, which takes place in the 1920’s jazz age, follows a woman who murdered the man who she was cheating with on her husband. She murders him only after he told her he wasn’t going to help her performance career like he promised. She goes to jail and her fool of a husband spends all his money buying her the best lawyer. Her trial goes viral and ultimately she goes free and uses the new found fame to become a performer. 

Overall this is among my favorite musicals of all time. Due to the setting the whole soundtrack has a deep element of jazz which is a large portion of why I love it so much. Every song has so much purpose and both the music and choreography is lively, unique and methodical. 

One of my favorite songs is the number We Both Reached For the Gun as the main character, Roxie Heart, is sharing her testimony for the press. It is all lies and her lawyer has her sitting on his lap like a ventriloquist dummy and does all the singing for her. I also love the classic Cell Block Tango. It is the stories of all the other women who she is in jail with and why they all killed their husbands. Some are obviously more understandable than others. The dance to this song is very burlesque. There is one woman in the jail who is innocent; she is a Hungarian immigrant who can not speak english. The only words she can manage in english is not guilty. Poetically she is the only woman to be hung and found guilty. 

There are a few scenes that are a little slow but that’s my only major complaint. I do sympathise for the poor husband but plot wise it is necessary. Initially she lies to him and tells him she was being robbed and he tells the cops that he killed the man. He finds out she was having an affair and is devastated but still pays for the expensive lawyer. She barely even thanks him because she is too absorbed with the fame. Roughly half way through the movie the press starts to focus on another case and she lies and tells them she is pregnant with his baby. She never contacts him and just lets him believe he will be a father for the sake of her case. In the end he does leave her but the poor guy really goes through it.

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