Video Review: Madonna “Papa Don’t Preach”

Geese fly off the pavement. An sixtysomething walks on the sidewalk with her cane. Several young women hang out near the subway, waiting for a friend. Two little boys fight in a park. Madonna, carrying her black leather jacket over her shoulder, walks straight ahead.

Against a black background, she dances on a charcoal stage.

In home video footage, Madonna (as a seven-year-old girl) shakes her Pink Panther toy and runs to her father (Danny Aiello). Her father dances with her and picks her up. She waves to the camera. Her father tells her to eat at the dinner table. Afterwards, she dries the dishes with him.

At about 19 years old, she does a double take as she watches a young man walk by with his friends.

The young man’s co-worker taps on the shoulder at the auto shop. He turns around and sees Madonna. They smile at one another.

She puts some food on her dad’s plate and sits down with him. After dinner, she hands unloads the dishwasher as he dries the plates.

While sitting on the bench, she sees an older couple watching them and smiles at him between bites. They spin as some violinists plays. She walks the steps to the young man’s apartment and walks back home. With a pillow by her stomach, she watches as her father smacks the newspaper down on the coffee table and leaves the room.

Leaning against the wall, she listens for him. He looks outside his bedroom window. She arranges some knicknacks on a dresser and goes back to her room. He leans against the wall. Sitting on her bed, she takes a deep breath as her father approaches. He hugs her.

Rating: 5/5

Madonna watches as her four year-old girl and father play on the floor. He tickles his granddaughter’s belly and smiles as she giggles. “Don’t take off Grandpa’s glasses!” she calls out to her as her daughter starts to pluck them from his face. He picks her up and she says “let’s play princess!”

As she cleans the dishes, she smiles as she watches her father pretend to wave a magic wand. The young man puts her arms around her and tells they have a great family. She looks down as she puts the plates away. He gives her a kiss on the cheek and says her dad already offered to babysit over the weekend. “He really loves that little girl,” he comments. She nods and smiles.

On the day she told her father she was pregnant, she walked around the city. First, she went to the doctor, who confirmed it. She touched her stomach during the exam and wondered what she was going to do. Then, she told the young man. His eyes wide, he opened his mouth and then leaned against the wall. “When did you find out?” She answered today and added she didn’t want to tell him unless she was completely sure. He nodded and puts his arms around her. His head on her forehead, he asked, “will you marry me?” She bit her lip and nodded yes. He offered to come over and be there with her when she told her father. She shook her head no, saying she had to tell him by herself.

Her father didn’t talk to her for two hours. However, as he sat in her bedroom with her, he said he was willing to help her in anyway. She cried in his arms and said she had considered an abortion. But she coudn’t do it. He says it wasn’t what he wanted for her. However, she and her boyfriend are welcome to live with them. She said it was something she’ll bring up with her boyfriend.

As she packs up her daughter’s toys, she grins as she watches her boyfriend help their little girl with her jacket. Her father kisses her and says he’ll see her soon. She hugs her father and gives him a kiss. She tells him to stay away from salty foods. The sodium isn’t good for his heart. Her father waves at his granddaughter, who says “bye grandpa!” while she walks to the car.

Director: James Foley Year: 1986

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Pam Avoledo Administrator
Pam Avoledo spends her time binge-watching classic teen dramas and stands firm in her pro-Leyton stance. She also received her journalism degree in 2006 from Oakland University. Her poetry has been published in the White Wall Review and 45 Magazine.

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