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any good movies lately?
and recommend it.
Drag queen Hedwig is a
rock-and-roll legend-in-the-making – at least in her own mind, and
that of the handful of devoted fans that follow her on her tour of
America’s franchised, family-style diners. As she tells the
extraordinary story of her life through a series of song and dance
numbers, we discover how a boy named Hansel living in East Berlin grew
up to become a glamorous rock-chanteuse named Hedwig. At the same time,
we learn how Hedwig’s complicated past is tied into her present
predicament, as she finds herself embroiled in a bitter lawsuit against
rock’s latest darling, Tommy Gnosis, her one-time protégé and former
Oscar nomination and media buzz to the
contrary, Moulin Rouge was not the best musical to come
out last year. John Cameron Mitchell’s Hedwig and the Angry Inch
proved every bit as visually and musically daring, and a gazillion times
more intellectually and emotionally satisfying. It’s so damn fabulous
that even if you normally can’t stand movie musicals, you’ll have a
hard time resisting Hedwig’s charms. After all, the biggest
problem that non-fans have with the genre is that there’s something
inherently hokey about the idea of people spontaneously breaking out
into song and dance for no reason, but with Hedwig, the singing always
makes sense – these characters are, after all, musicians. Even better,
the music’s actually pretty good. Still, the songs, the costumes, the
sets – as well as they all work, that’s just the superficial stuff. Hedwig’s
mighty nice to look at, but it’s got something to say too. Beneath the
glitzy surface and the glib humor there’s a certain sweet sincerity
that makes you really feel for Hedwig. Part of it is actor (also
director/writer) Mitchell’s natural charisma: he brings a real energy
to the character of Hedwig – she’s radiant, a force … she takes
your breath away. But what’s really amazing is the way Hedwig’s
simultaneously larger-than-life, and very real. And maybe that’s
because, simplified plot synopsis to the contrary, the story’s not really
about gender identity, reducing oneself to a neat little box of
either or, an issue which, while very interesting, might be difficult
for most people to relate to. Hedwig’s main message is much more
universal: it’s a great big valentine to self-acceptance. It’s about
finding spiritual wholeness within yourself rather than through others
... a lesson everyone -- male, female, or somewhere in between -- should
take to heart. Witty, fun, and moving to boot, Hedwig has it all.
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