Billy's Holiday (1995)

Genres - Musical  |   Sub-Genres - Musical Fantasy  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - Australia   |   MPAA Rating - R
  • AllMovie Rating
    5
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Share on

Review by

This modest, big-hearted musical takes its cues from the personality of its central character, a milquetoast who discovers his own voice after he finds himself able to sing in the distinctive style of his favorite jazz diva. What's surprising is how Billy's Holiday manages to move beyond this one-note gimmick, and effectively portray the essential role music plays in its characters' everyday lives. Despite their best efforts, the members of Billy Apple's jazz quintet are just going through the motions, performing standards for disinterested bar patrons. When Billy begins to sing like Billie Holiday, he also gains her ability to transfix an audience with the raw emotion of her voice, and suddenly everyone's eager to listen. The doughy, downtrodden Billy has always seen himself as living in his own private musical (clumsily recreating Gene Kelly's downpour dance number from Singin' in the Rain to his daughter's chagrin) and he quickly seizes upon this bizarre gift to give himself another chance at the happiness he believes only success can bring. Even if it means letting his music label market him as a gender-bending big band revivalist complete with Lady Day's signature gardenia in his tuxedo lapel. But in this decidedly old-fashioned, optimistic musical, there's little doubt that Billy will come to his senses. At the heart of Billy's Holiday is an unwavering belief in the transporting, transformative power of music, and in a world where love songs are sung from the heart and everybody is a star.