Saturday, March 31, 2007

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (John Cameron Mitchell, 2001) [7]
It took me a while to come to terms with a grade about this film and I'm still kind of torn. The songs are great, and when they're front and center like in the first half of the film, it's a borderline exceptional film. But the second half delves more story and for whatever reason, I just didn't find myself that interested in it. Even with that, it's not enough to sway my overall opinion that I really did like it. John Cameron Mitchell's performance as Hansel/Hedwig is great at times, especially when he's singing. Mitchell has such a strong stage presence as Hedwig, belting out glam influenced songs that really rock. The performances are clearly the most enjoyable part of the film, and I was disappointed that they occur less frequently as the film progresses. The animation sequences in the beginning also work surprisingly well and don't take the viewer out of the film, as they could easily do. I find Hedwig's story sort of frivolous and borderline silly: the botched sex change operation, the comical depiction of East Germany, and befriending/seducing Tommy. I felt it dragged the film down after the exceptional beginning. The ending, like in Shortbus, tries to be uplifting but it comes across as cloying. I never thought I would say this about a film, but the more frivolous and out there this film would have been, the better it would have been. It still has its moments though.

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