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The Prom Ending, Explained

December 11, 2020
6 min read

‘The Prom’ is a musical comedy film that revolves around a lesbian teenager named Emma. She just wants to take her girlfriend to the high-school prom, but when the PTA hears about this, they cancel the event altogether. Then, a Broadway star and her motley crew hear about Emma and head on over to Edgewater, Indiana, with hopes of gaining some publicity for helping the girl out. However, their support actually ends up making things worse. Does Emma get the happy ending she deserves? SPOILERS AHEAD.

The Prom Plot Synopsis 

Dee Dee Allen (Meryl Streep) and Barry Glickman (James Corden) are the stars of a new show on Broadway that revolves around the life of Eleanor Roosevelt. However, the critics are not kind and even label the pair as narcissists (which is not entirely a lie). Along with their colleagues Angie Dickinson (Nicole Kidman) and Trent Oliver (Andrew Rannells), they drown their sorrow at a bar. This is when Angie comes across the story of Emma Nolan on Twitter. Emma is a teenage girl who wants to attend the prom with her girlfriend. However, Mrs. Greene, the head of the PTA, is very opposed to this.

Furthermore, unbeknownst to Greene, it is her daughter, Alyssa, that Emma wants to take to the dance. Even though the school’s principal, Tom Hawkins, supports the teenager, the event is canceled altogether. The theatre actors feel that if they go to Indiana to resolve the issue, they could get positive publicity once again. However, their oddly narcissistic brand of activism actually ends up backfiring. Nevertheless, they refuse to take no for an answer, and in an attempt to help change Emma’s life, the group also ends up finding what they were looking for all along.

The Prom Ending

As the film inches closer to the climax, everyone is busy setting up for the second prom. Dee Dee and her friends tell Emma that they had actually come to her town for publicity. The teenager has no problems with them as they have truly made progress in recent times. However, Mrs. Greene walks in and objects to the event. Then, Emma’s classmates walk in and apologize to her for their distressing behavior.

They also credit Trent with broadening their horizons, which subsequently leads to him getting the position of the school’s drama teacher. Alyssa also takes this opportunity to finally come out to her mom. She then turns to Emma and states that she loves her, and the protagonist returns the sentiment. The news is a little hard for Mrs. Greene to process, and she tells her daughter that they will talk about it later.

It is the night of the prom, and Emma and Alyssa are the first ones to arrive. They finally dance with each other. Soon, Dee Dee and the gang also walk in. Angie reveals that she has been called in to play the role of Roxie Hart. The doors to the truly inclusive prom then open to all the other children in the town. Mrs. Greene also shows up to support her daughter, and she tells Alyssa how much she loves her. Dee Dee and Tom finally get the happy ending they deserve as they kiss.

Would Things Have Been Different if Emma Had Gone on TV?

Emma has the opportunity to go on TV and spread her story. After all, the PTA did mistreat the student by throwing her a separate and laughable prom altogether. She is the only one who wasn’t told about the change in location. The sheer humiliation Emma feels is astounding, and understandably so. Everyone essentially bullies her just so that they can have a conventional, heteronormative prom. Naturally, others hear about this, and Emma gets a platform to set the record straight.

She can also condemn these actions and try to change people for the better. Emma intends to put her story out there and also wants to organize another prom that children across Edgewater can attend, despite their backgrounds and sexual orientations. In fact, it is Dee Dee who swallows her pride and contacts her ex-husband, Eddie Sharpe, for a slot on his primetime show for Emma (in exchange for the Broadway star’s house in the Hamptons).

However, Emma declines the offer and uploads a video online. As we all know, the protagonist’s plan works, and her tale goes viral. With the help of the supportive principal and the motley crew of actors, the student puts on a beautiful event as well. But we couldn’t help but wonder whether the second prom would have looked any different if Emma had decided to go on TV. Would there have been more kids present, would more adults have objected to this dance, or would everything remain the same?

Well, we all know how divided today’s political landscape is. If Emma had chosen to go on Eddie’s show, 16 million people would have tuned in to watch her talk about the LGBTQ community and its struggles. This has its pros and cons since the teenager could have reached out to a lot more people through the medium of television. However, there is also the possibility that certain groups could have taken offense and tried to shut down the event.

The sad reality is that even though it is 2020, the LGBTQ community still has to fight for respect, survival, and many fundamental rights. In fact, to raise their voices against what they consider immoral, several homophobic groups could have come out in big numbers to disrupt the event. Social media would be rife with opinions, especially Twitter. Even if they may not have been successful, that doesn’t mean that they can’t be loud.

Consequently, even though Emma wants the prom to be a place of acceptance and love, the night could have gone in a completely different direction. Regressive troublemakers could have massively messed up the protagonist’s vision. Furthermore, the themes of tolerance and unity are ones that the film touches on as well. (Trent even sings an entire song around it). Today, it has become harder than ever to have a cordial yet well-informed discussion about various topics in our society. So maybe it is a good thing that Emma chose to spread her message via the internet.

Read More: Where Was The Prom Filmed?

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