7.6/10
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10 user 55 critic

I Am Divine (2013)

Not Rated | | Documentary | 1 April 2014 (USA)
Trailer
2:25 | Trailer
How Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, became John Waters' cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

Director:

Jeffrey Schwarz
4 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »

Videos

Photos

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Divine ... Self (archive footage)
Michael Musto ... Self - Columnist
Mark Payne ... Self - Makeup Artist
Greg Gorman ... Self - Friend & Photographer
Mink Stole ... Self - Friend & Co-Star
John Waters ... Self
Vincent Peranio ... Self - Friend & Production Designer
Frances Milstead ... Self - Mother
Diana Evans ... Self - High School Girlfriend
Dennis Dermody ... Self - Friend & Film Critic
Pat Moran ... Self - Friend & Casting Director
Susan Lowe ... Self - Friend (as Sue Lowe)
David Lochary ... Self - Friend (archive footage)
Jackie Beat ... Self - Drag Performer
Mary Vivian Pearce ... Self - Friend & Co-Star
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Storyline

How Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, became John Waters' cinematic muse and an international drag icon.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Genres:

Documentary

Certificate:

Not Rated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film features the final interview with Frances Milstead, Divine's mother, who passed away shortly after. See more »

Quotes

Self - Friend & Production Designer: He'd do things like a huge, catered party at the Belvedere Hotel for all his friends. He loved being bigger than life, showing off.
John Waters: And then he would send the bill to his parents, but rip up the bill so his parents didn't know! They never saw the bills. He'd get the mail every day and just rip up all the bills until his parents' credit cards were cut off. And he would write bad checks. And the police busted him and took him home, and he said to his parents, "I did not do that.'' Just such a liar...
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Crazy Credits

The closing credits list certain people as "Perverts," "Maniacs" and "Sh*tkickers," among other designations. See more »

Connections

Features That Kind of Woman (1959) See more »

Soundtracks

I'm So Beautiful
Performed by Divine
See more »

User Reviews

 
Great...but certainly NOT for everyone!!
13 July 2014 | by MartinHaferSee all my reviews

The actor/singing/pop phenomenon Divine is the subject of this terrific new biographical film--but it's also NOT a film for everyone. After all, Divine's persona was offensive and on the fringe--and deliberately so. And so, if you can handle it, this documentary will be a treat.

Glen Milstead was a seemingly unremarkable kid. After all, he grew up in the rather unglamorous city of Baltimore and there was little about his early years that would indicate he'd be world famous by his incredibly premature death at age 42. But, from this humble beginning somehow sprang one of the most outrageous stars of the 1970s and 80s...and this film is his story.

Not surprisingly, the film begins with a lengthy discussion of his childhood and early adulthood. Much of this was provided by his mother, Frances, but many friends contributed as well. However, in his late teens, the sorts of friends he began associating with changed dramatically. Up until then, he'd been a rather nerdy, chunky kid with a long-time girlfriend who was also secretly gay---and with few other friends. However, when he met up with John Waters and the rest of his bizarre group of friends, Glen soon transformed himself. Some of the transformation involved drugs and parties, but the most outrageous change was his creation of a character Waters christened 'Divine'. And Divine began appearing in a lot of super-cheap, offensive and weird underground films by Waters. At first, no one noticed because no one was ready for such strangeness. But, slowly, the character's impact began to grow. How it went from playing in super 8mm films to a world- wide star is the subject of the rest of the film. I could say more, but frankly it's better if you just see the film.

The documentary, fortunately, is not just a list of his screen credits and discussion of his films, but talks about his stage and music career as well. Additionally, it shows a lot of genuine affection for Glen from all his friends, co-workers and mother. And, about the part of him that was sad--the part that ate compulsively to fill some unfilled void. This portion was actually quite touching--and let you know that off-screen and off-stage, he was very little like his insane persona, Divine.

So, why is this a film that I recommend that most of you don't see? Well, first it's so incredibly offensive--mostly because Divine was a deliberately offensive character. She curses, make a lot of crude remarks about sex and is a walking horror show in the film. If you got the joke--it is great. But many will simply be offended--especially when they talk about what he did at the end of the film "Pink Flamingos"! As a fan of Divine who has seen him/her in just about everything (including most of the old 8mm films), I adored I Am Divine and was thrilled to hear about Glen and Divine's successes...and oddness. I also have very thick skin and a love of weird films--and Divine's are a very strange assortment of movies--to put it mildly! If you are already a fan, this film is for you!! It's better than the other biographical documentary, "Divine Trash"--mostly because it just seems a lot more complete. Plus, it's so well made and informative--and it's exactly what his fans will love. If you are not, watch at your own risk!! In fact, I recommend in this case you do some film watching BEFORE you watch this bio. Start with his LAST film (the original "Hairspray") and work your way backwards!! Then, after you've become thoroughly indoctrinated (if you can make it that far because they get weirder and more offensive the farther you go), then try seeing "I Am Divine"! Seriously. Otherwise a lot of the character and folks' love of him/her just might make a lot of sense as you see this documentary and its weirdness might not make any sense. Don't say I didn't warn you!!

This film is currently available streaming through Netflix as well as for sale from many sources including Amazon and Barnes & Noble.


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Details

Official Sites:

Official Facebook | Official Site

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

1 April 2014 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Ego, i Divine See more »

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Box Office

Gross USA:

$81,497

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$115,739
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Company Credits

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

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