Emo the Musical offers a satirical look into the emo subculture and musical movies. Often dubbed the last true subculture, Emo The Musical coveys a subtle sense of reality through the wonderful performances and reflective look into the lives of teenagers in Australia today. I saw the film as part of the Melbourne International Film Festival (MIFF) over the weekend where it played to an incredibly full Comedy Theatre a day after the sold-out premiere. Writer, Director and Composer Neil Triffett was in attendance with the majority of the impeccable cast at the event, clearly excited to showcase this incredible film to the public.
Emo the Musical was born from Triffett’s short film entitled Emo (The Musical), which orignally won Best Comedy, Best Score and the Craft Award at the 2014 St Kilda Film Festival. Supported by the MIFF Premiere Fund this was the world premiere for Emo the Musical which audiences seemed to thoroughly enjoy. Triffett also stated in the Q&A after the screening that they are hoping to release the film in select cinemas early next year.
The film follows Ethan (Benson Jack Anthony), an emo, through his journey as he starts studying at a new school and struggles to not fit in and solidify a place amongst his fellow emos. However, Ethan’s perfect reputation as a struggling depressed teenager at the pinnacle of the school’s emo-culture is threatened when he unwittingly falls for Trinity (Jordan Hare), a God-loving bible basher who also carries a great tune. This all comes to a head as the many brilliantly written characters go on a journey of self-discovery that concludes at the final rock concert in true teen film form.
Triffett’s writing in Emo the Musical is pure gold and is only enhanced through the actors’ brilliant performances. One of my particularly favourite moments is when Ethan and Trinity are stuck in a wardrobe and they (naturally) start singing. Trinity is worried that she is alone in such proximity to a boy but Ethan assures her that she is safe with him in the songs melodic refrain. In a line that made me almost drop my popcorn laughing Ethan then says that sex probably wouldn’t be a good idea because it’s “too mainstream anyway”; thus summing up the emo experience in perfect satire. Another of the most fantastic moments from the film is when Trinity belts out her epiphany realisation that “Jesus was an emo”. It was fantastic.
“Emo the Musical is a film for teens, but not just for teens. For those who were in high school at the peek of emo culture (AKA 2008) this will surely offer some intense flashbacks to the days of Myspace and My Chemical Romance.”
Peter, played by Craig Hyde-Smith is another one of the film’s best characters. He is part of the Christian group but struggles with his repressed sexuality that he has undergone shock therapy to deal with. Isaac (Jon Prasida) is the leader of the hope group who convinces Craig that shock therapy is a good idea, in an effort to cleanse him of his sins. Topics of bullying and coming out in high school are explored a uniquely subtle and heartfelt way throughout Emo the Musical alongside the hilariously witty dialogue and lyrics. There is also an extremely witty sub-plot involving the state of public education in Australia that was cleverly woven in amongst the main storyline.
Emo the Musical is a film for teens, but not just for teens. For those who were in high school at the peek of emo culture (AKA 2008) this will surely offer some intense flashbacks to the days of Myspace and My Chemical Romance. This is a fantastically hilarious film with witty politically savvy dialogue and lyrics that had me laughing repeatedly. As MIFF has finished there are currently no sessions available to see Emo the Musical, but according to the film’s website it will be released in early 2017 in cinemas and various online platforms. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who enjoys a satirical look into Australian sub-cultures and the experience of teenagers in high school today along with some fantastic tunes.