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Flawless (1999)

2:37 | Trailer
An ultraconservative security guard suffers a debilitating stroke and is assigned to a rehabilitative program that includes singing lessons, with the drag queen next door.


Joel Schumacher


Joel Schumacher
3 wins & 4 nominations. See more awards »





Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert De Niro ... Walt Koontz
Philip Seymour Hoffman ... Rusty
Barry Miller ... Leonard Wilcox
Chris Bauer ... Jacko
Skipp Sudduth ... Tommy
Wilson Jermaine Heredia ... Cha-Cha
Nashom Wooden Nashom Wooden ... Amazing Grace (as Nashom Benjamin)
Scott Allen Cooper Scott Allen Cooper ... Ivana
Rory Cochrane ... Pogo
Daphne Rubin-Vega ... Tia
Vincent Laresca ... Raymond Camacho
Karina Arroyave ... Amber
John Enos III ... Sonny (as John Enos)
Jude Ciccolella ... Detective Noonan
Mina Bern ... Mrs. Spivak


Walt Koontz, a homophobic cop, ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes singing lessons from a neighbor who is not only flamboyantly gay but also pre-operative transgender. Both of them are equally prejudiced; Koontz against non-heterosexuals and the neighbor against closed-minded straight people. Written by Rob Reser - The Movie Kid - <moviekid@filmspot.com>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis


Nobody's Perfect. Everybody's Flawless See more »


Comedy | Crime | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for pervasive language and strong violence | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »

Did You Know?


The basic premise of Flawless (macho man develops unlikely friendship with flamboyant drag queen) was also used as a plot arc in the third season of the HBO series Oz, which came out in the same year (1999). On Oz, a convicted mafioso named Nappa reluctantly becomes friends with his effeminate cell mate, Nat. Furthermore, Nappa is played by Mark Margolis, who also appears in this film. See more »


Rusty Zimmerman: I left sensitivity back in the sand pile.
See more »

Crazy Credits

During the credits, DeNiro and Hoffman sing the "Name Song" together while staying in character. See more »


References Rear Window (1954) See more »


Ashley's Song
Written by Joel Schumacher, Bruce Roberts & Rory Cochrane
Performed by Rory Cochrane
See more »

User Reviews

Good acting - but the script is anything but flawless
21 January 2001 | by olly_mannSee all my reviews

"Flawless" was released in the USA in 1999. It's been out in England since November, but most English readers probably won't have heard of it. It's a buddy movie about a drag queen and a homophobic security guard who suffers a near-paralysing stroke. It's written in the style of a GCSE drama piece and directed by Joel Shumacher, he of "Batman And Robin" fame. Not exactly a mouthwatering prospect, you say? Perhaps you are wondering why it got a release at all. Well, because it stars Robert De Niro and Philip Seymour Hoffman, and they are two of the finest actors working in film today.

De Niro plays Walt Koontz (we know he's the security guard because he has a mantelpiece full of trophies, plays cards and eats donuts). Hoffman is Rusty Zimmerman, who lives next door (he's the drag queen, obviously, because he's brash, claps his hands excitedly and says things like: `Well, life's a bitch, so I became one, honey!'). After his stroke, Koontz has to side step his ultra-conservative beliefs and take singing lessons with Rusty as part of his speech therapy. Cue some touching odd-couple moments around the piano and the gradual realisation for Koontz that - shock! - those crazy homos really aren't so bad after all.

De Niro played a comparable role to better effect in "Awakenings", and Hoffman is not as impressive as he was in "Happiness" or "Boogie Nights", but the two leads are generally convincing, and enjoy some inevitably fantastic moments. The chemistry between the two, however, which must be tight to drive an essentially theatrical movie like this, is distinctly lacking. A European filmmaker with a greater grasp of subtlety would give the characters more time to breathe (Almodovar's "All About My Mother" trod similar territory with electrifying results), but Schumacher's dire script insults the audience by assuming that the story needs constant emotional crisis to hold the attention. And so we are provided with deaths, gunfights, parties, and tragic telephone calls: all of which are contrived, plot-driven devices, which demean the relationship between the two central characters to the kind of schmaltzy emotional pornography which usually involves Robin Williams (the script stops just short of including an AIDS death, or a speech explaining Koontz' hatred of homosexuals, although one can be certain it would have had something to do with an abusive father).

The treatment of the gay men in the movie, though stereotypical, does not pander entirely to the expectation of a straight audience, as one might accuse Hollywood product like "The Birdcage" of doing. And, as director, Schumacher is reasonably accomplished and has, thank heavens, suppressed his previously flamboyant tendency and instead developed the gritty style he established well in "8mm". Like Curtis Hanson's recently released "Wonder Boys", the general style (and the casting of Hoffman) suggests he has been paying heed to independent cinema and that can be no bad thing. But his frequent use of handheld camera fulfils no function whatever, and his neon lighting and clichéd gangster scenes (mostly of the `Gimme back my muthafu***n money, bitch' variety) more resemble a Tarantino pastiche than a distinctive voice of his own. Add into the mix two entirely irrelevant subplots and an overwhelming weight of tragic over the comic, and you are left with a movie that, despite some good performances, is anything but flawless.

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Official Sites:






Release Date:

24 November 1999 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Flawless See more »


Box Office


$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$1,590,155, 28 November 1999

Gross USA:


Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Tribeca Productions See more »
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Technical Specs


Sound Mix:

DTS-Stereo | DTS



Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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