Newsies Review: The right material for a musical film

I never got a chance to watch this because I was a mere 2-year old when it was first released.  So being a musical geek, I couldn’t not watch this when I grew older.  I have yet to see the Broadway version but till then, this movie version is good enough for me.

Newsies is a musical movie based on the New York City newsboys’ strike of 1899 where an army of orphans and runaways took to the streets to sell the published newspapers of Joseph Pulitzer, William Randolph Hearst and other publishers.  Jack Kelly (Christian Bale) is one such newsie who dreams of a better life in Santa Fe, where he can escape the streets once and for all.  However, his dream gets tougher to realize when Pulitzer and Hearst raise the distribution price to 10 cents per 100, making it almost impossible for the boys to earn enough.  Having witness the Trolley strike first-hand, Jack gets inspired to organise a newsboys’ strike to fight for their rights.  Together with his friend, David Jacobs (David Moscow), the two form a new kind of union that helps the weak and oppressed find courage and strength to challenge the rich and powerful.

“Just so you know, you look like you could pull off the Batman attire.” Source: Walt Disney Pictures

Catchy tunes, flawless acting from the cast and an inspirational tale is really what sums this movie up.  As a child of the 90s, it never once occurred to me that if I had been born in the 1800s, I ‘d probably be like one of them.  Kids of those times had to fight for their rights and even when they did, it was a struggle.  Needless to say, I’d most definitely be one of those kids who would be too scared to go against what I perceive as the authority/people with power.

Having watched this film, I’ve been inspired by the Newsies’ undying courage.  Even though Jack had been arrested and somehow turned into one of Pulitzer’s prized newsboy, the newsies still didn’t let that get them down.  They continued on with the strike despite seeing Jack turn against them (reluctantly).  I was moved to tears when Jack finally decided to stop thinking for himself and thinking for the greater cause.  Even despite Pulitzer’s threats, Jack stood up for himself and what was right – fair treatment for the newsies.  He outwitted Pulitzer and quite literally seized the day.

Newsies is definitely a timeless musical movie that I would watch again and again.  The courage seen in the boys’ characters are something that we should all have in ourselves.  We should never let other people treat us unfairly or make us feel weak.  We’re all Kings and Queens in our own way, and nobody can tell us otherwise.




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