Review Podcast Rating Legacy Revision Candidate

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

While I am not exactly the target audience for this movie, I still dug the hell out of it. John Cameron Mitchell is mind-blowingly incandescent as Hedwig in all her petulance but also strength and beauty. (Mitchell is also the director, and the movie is amazingly accomplished for a directorial debut.)

The soundtrack is full of bangers, but I’ve been playing “Wig in a Box” on loop the past few days.

The ending is really sensational, abstractly and ambiguously providing culmination to the themes developed throughout the musical.

Hedwig’s persona is a bit off-putting as a character, so it gets a bit exhausting to spend a whole movie with her, but it’s made up for by her rich character development and sheer charisma.

Lastly, there’s the question of representation, which is particularly important given the film’s themes. I can see why a few specific elements might be considered problematic — Hedwig’s personality being so defined by trauma, perhaps reinforcing negative depiction of genderqueer and/or transgender people as “broken,” for example — and I’m certainly not the person to be making those judgments. But my overall take is that this is an empowering story about self-discovery and finding wholeness by defining and discovering the truest version of yourself.

Is It Good?

Very Good (6/8)

Note: This review was originally published elsewhere. Please excuse brevity or inconsistencies in style. If you have questions or feedback, please leave a comment or contact me.

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