Hedwig, born a boy named Hansel in East Berlin, fell in love with an American G.I. and underwent a sex-change operation in order to marry him and flee to the West. Unfortunately, nothing worked out quite as it was supposed to - years later, Hedwig is leading her rock band on a tour of the U.S., telling her life story through a series of concerts at Bilgewater Inn seafood restaurants. Her tour dates coincide with those of arena-rock star Tommy Gnosis, a wide-eyed boy who once loved Hedwig... but then left with all her songs. Written by
The press kit touts this film as a "Post-punk neo-glam rock odyssey," based on the hit off-broadway show that ran in New York from 1998-2000. Some people have compared it to the Rocky Horror Picture Show, but that's only because it's the only other Glam Rock musical ever made into a movie.
The premise alone should make you want to see it: A rock-and-roll drag queen tells her bizarre life story, starting as a boy in East Berlin, falling in love with an American GI, and going for a sex-change operation, waking up to find nothing but a "one-inch mound of flesh" where her organ should be. The story takes more twists and turns after that, and I don't want to spoil anything.
The story is told mostly through the songs, which are perfect rock and roll gems, on par with the songs from Tommy. After only seeing it once, I walked away singing the words "Six inches forward and five inches back...I've got an angry inch!" over and over for days.
For a directorial debut with no big-name movie stars, the acting is right on the mark. These are theater people, after all, and there's none of the cringeworthy bad acting you see in a lot of independent films. John Cameron Mitchell gives the character Hedwig so much emotional depth, you forget that the premise is so silly.
The costumes are amazing, as you would expect from a movie with a drag queen as the main character. Hedwig wears no less than 41 outfits, one of which is a dress made entirely of hair.
I came away from this movie totally inspired. It positively electrified me with an energy I rarely feel from movies anymore. And I don't even like musicals!
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