Review Date: August 21, 2001
Director: John Cameron Mitchell
Writer: John Cameron Mitchell
Producers: Pamela Koffler, Katie Roumel, Christine Vachon
John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig
Michael Pitt as Tommy Gnosis
Miriam Shor as Yitzhak
Well, I personally don't care for those films, and didn't really get into the whole "show" atmosphere of this movie either. I guess I might've looked at it all too literally, but like I said earlier, I just didn't care enough about the characters to delve into the "so the butterfly represents his freedom?" side of things. All I know is that the film left me with many questions unanswered and didn't make me feel any more fulfilled. What was Hedwig's relationship with that other member of his band (with the beard)? What happened with Hedwig and Tommy Gnosis at the end of the movie? (was that an actual sequence or a fantasy?) What ever happened to the lawsuit? And more... All of which were part of the film and interested me somewhat. If the only idea behind the film was for the main character to uncover his/her sexuality, then that's one thing, but as many of the relationships and situations presented themselves in this movie, I wanted some resolution to those pieces as well. I didn't get it.
The film's humor also didn't tickle my funny bone either. Then again, I've seen many a film in these art-house theatres in which patrons are rolling down the aisles with laughter, while all I see is a tiny bit of whimsy on the screen. Some of these films are also better enjoyed with the added "atmosphere" of a plant called marijuana, and I can certainly see how this movie ingrains within itself some nifty visual elements, in order to jazz up that experience. But being sober as I was and expecting a coherent, funny, musical with a transsexual twist, I didn't leave the theater very satisfied. I came out having watched an existential story of a confused man caught up in a musical lifestyle, wrapped in metaphors, dramatics and more questions than answers. I will, on the other hand, definitely hand some props out to the lead in this film, John Cameron Mitchell, who is also the man who wrote, directed and created the play on which this movie is based, and the tunes, which will likely be enjoyed by anyone who digs The Sex Pistols, David Bowie and the whole 70s glam-rock scene.
Note: BTW, it seems as though pretty much every single "mainstream" critic in the United States loved this movie from top to bottom (and thought that it was really funny to boot!), so you might want to take that into consideration yourself. But having said that, the main reason that I started this dinky website in the first place was because films like this would sometimes be uniformly applauded by the "official" critics, while I, a regular "JoBlo" in the audience, just wouldn't get what all the fuss was about. This movie is a perfect example of why I continue to write movie reviews.