‘Cats’ movie review: Taylor Swift, Judi Dench and Francesca Hayward bring the magical musical to life

Timeless soundtrack and star power from James Corden, Idris Elba and more, make it an almost purrfect watch

Veronica Lin |

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While the music in Cats is timeless and irreplaceable, its film adaptation has been slammed by almost all critics, with the movie receiving a historic and rare no-star rating from The New York Times and Los Angeles Times.

The star-studded cast includes A-listers from all walks of life – James Corden, Judi Dench, Jason Derulo, Idris Elba, Jennifer Hudson, Ian McKellen, Taylor Swift – and newcomer Francesca Hayward.

 

 

Hayward, who plays Victoria, does a brilliant job in her film debut. While her voice is not on par with co-stars such as Hudson, she is a breath of fresh air, and everything she does seems natural. Likewise, British national treasures McKellen and Dench aren’t the best singers, but they are purr-fect for their roles. With a frown here and a raised eyebrow there, Dench’s nuanced performance would have guaranteed an Oscar had it been in another film.

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Even though Cats lacks a solid storyline, the timeless soundtrack makes up for it. Apart from the opening number, there were so many other tunes that moved us and tugged at our heartstrings.

Hudson’s rendition of Memory was the most emotional of all. While in the movie trailer, the singer had seemingly butchered the hit, when put in context her pop-sounding version of the song sounds so much more emotionally charged than the musical version.