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Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

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A transgender punk-rock girl from East Berlin tours the U.S. with her band as she tells her life story and follows the former lover/band-mate who stole her songs.

Writers:

John Cameron Mitchell (book), Stephen Trask (book) | 1 more credit »
Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 28 wins & 32 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
John Cameron Mitchell ... Hedwig
Miriam Shor ... Yitzhak
Stephen Trask Stephen Trask ... Skszp - Band Member
Theodore Liscinski Theodore Liscinski ... Jacek - Band Member
Rob Campbell ... Krzysztof - Band Member
Michael Aronov ... Schlatko - Band Member
Andrea Martin ... Phyllis Stein
Ben Mayer-Goodman Ben Mayer-Goodman ... Hansel - 6 years old
Alberta Watson ... Hansel's Mom
Gene Pyrz Gene Pyrz ... Hansel's Dad
Michael Pitt ... Tommy Gnosis
Karen Hines ... Tommy's Publicist
Max Toulch Max Toulch ... Goth Menses Boy
Maurice Dean Wint ... Sgt. Luther Robinson
Ermes Blarasin Ermes Blarasin ... Fat Man
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Storyline

Hedwig, born male as Hansel in East Berlin, fell in love with an American G.I. and underwent a Gender Confirmation Surgery 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 Anonymous

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

An anatomically incorrect rock odyssey

Genres:

Comedy | Drama | Music | Musical

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content and language | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English | German

Release Date:

31 August 2001 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Cal do szczescia See more »

Filming Locations:

Ontario, Canada See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$6,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$156,724, 22 July 2001, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$3,029,081, 30 September 2001
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

DTS | Dolby Digital | SDDS

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

John Cameron Mitchell was required to wear so much makeup for such long periods of time, that after his daily lunch break, he'd go to his trailer, shave off his growing five o'clock shadow (through the makeup), then go have his makeup touched up and return to shooting. See more »

Goofs

In the Kansas City motel, Yitzhak wipes the left side of Hedwig's mouth; after the cut he's wiping the right side. See more »

Quotes

Hedwig: The road is my home, and my home, the road. And when I think of all the people I have come upon in my travels, I cannot help but think of the people who have come upon me. Tommy, can you hear me? From this milkless tit you have sucked the very business we call show!
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Soundtracks

Grey Clouds
Written by Stephen Trask
Performed by Dar Williams
Dar Williams appears courtesy of Razor & Tie
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User Reviews

 
A Brilliant Film - Fun and Multi-Layered
17 February 2002 | by EdYerkeRobinsSee all my reviews

Adapted from an off-Broadway show, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is the end result of 6 years of character and idea evolution by creator John Cameron Mitchell. Equal parts musical, mockumentary, and drama, the film pleases on all levels.

The film's musical numbers are brilliantly crafted and cross several different genres. A country-flavored number, "Sugar Daddy", appears smack-dab in the middle of all the punk and glam rock tunes, daring anyone to doubt the soundtrack's variety. The majority of the songs are catchy and great fun to listen to ("Wig in a Box" even has a karaoke sing-a-long during the second chorus), while staying true to the themes of the movie and Hedwig's life. John Cameron Mitchell (Hedwig) sings live vocals over a pre-recorded band mix, and this definitely lends more of a live concert feel than if he had simply lip-synched all the songs for the role. The majority of the cast is reunited from the original cast of the "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" play, so fans of the original play who have not seen the movie need not worry about "outsiders" ruining it in transition.

The film's mockumentary nature mainly results from how the songs, being "autobiographical", are preceded by scenes of commentary by Hedwig and a flashback from her life. While the transition from real time to flashback is usually made quite clear, some scenes (particularly the climax, which is a mess trying to piece together) are confusing as to what is real and what is flashback. The rest of the mockumentary comes between musical sequences, during Hedwig's interaction with her manager, band, and showing of mixed feelings towards Tommy Gnosis, an ex-lover who stole all her material for his own album and is now a popular teen idol. Her interactions with husband Yitzhak (who, due to an excellent make-up job and performance by original cast member Miriam Shor, I had no idea was played by a woman until I saw "Like It or Not", a documentary on the film included on the DVD) would have made the list as well, had a vital character-development scene with Yitzhak (the only non-Hedwig flashback in the entire movie) been left in the final cut; as it is, Yitzhak serves only as Hedwig's back-up singer and whipping boy, a much less important character. Most of the film's situations, however, are explained well, via flashback or dialogue, and have well-written gay and transsexual jokes.

Underneath all the humor and the music, however, is the serious theme of feeling spiritually "whole". Hedwig seems to interpret this (through the song "Origin of Love" and some interesting animated vignettes) as through finding love and one's soul-mate. Mitchell, who knows his character better than anyone, gives an amazing performance and is not only able to portray Hedwig's bitchy diva side, but also able to make the audience sympathize with why she acts that way (unlike real-life divas), and how deeply her inner feelings and her failures so far at "becoming whole" through a relationship trouble her.

Having not even the faintest idea of what the film was about other than that it was a musical, I was very pleasantly surprised at how much fun I had with Hedwig, and how at the same time it never strayed far from its serious theme. In its journey from a character, to a play, to a movie, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" has won over audiences as well as taken home accolades at Sundance, but has not had much mainstream success (chalk this up to its "controversial" transsexual main character and the popularity of "Moulin Rouge!", an experiment in stylistic over-extravagance, which is bigger and flashier than "Hedwig" due to its grand budget but lacks the sense of "genuine" emotion in the plot). This is quite tragic, because in retrospect, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" was definitely one of 2001's best films.


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