← Back to Reviews

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)
Director: John Cameron Mitchell

This comedy musical pieced together like a never ending music video starts off rambunctious and absurd and eventually turns into something more weighty and abstract. The running theme seems to be a broken soul looking for its other side, questioning where it can be found, or if it's run off with itself, maybe somewhere close by.

Hedwig reminds me a lot of Pink Floyd: The Wall, at least in the style in which it was made. It's super intricate and the writing is usually confident enough to produce images and direction that play out amusingly and tenderly. It means business. My question is what business? I am going to assume that a lot of the narrative for Hedwig is shuffled around in the songs, and as much as I thought the music was awesome, I'm not a big lyric kind of guy. I usually tune lyrics out unless they demand my attention, and that would require them to be surrounded by instruments a lot less bombastic. Between the balladry and up tempo numbers standing in the shadows of Iggy Pop, Lou Reed, Bowie, and even Meat Loaf, I found it increasingly difficult to invest too much emotion into the story of what this person was going through. I suppose I could investigate it since it seems to be based on a road show still to this day in some form(s).

I liked this movie a lot. Regardless of my detachment from it emotionally, and despite the fact that I am very much a heterosexual male, I thought it was made beautifully, and I was laughing quite a bit.

Some stand out scenes were at the buffet, or the jewish deli. Funny stuff. Doing an airplane dive while a chef violently chops assorted shellfish and veggies on white tablecloth. A waitress grabs an open mouth kiss from a teenager while the whole family fights around the restaurant table. A mother throws a tomato at her son who is hovered in the oven with pictures plastered on the innards as he attempts to harmonize with "Walk on the Wild Side". A narcissistic Air Force colonel feeds gummy bears to a young boy who he fancies and we get these macro shots of his teeth exclaiming at how "fiiiine" he is. Why wasn't he born a girl, he asks.

There's a lot to see, and a lot to hear. I'll be thinking about this movie more a bit later, and probably looking up some fun facts about it. A lot of information at once for me to digest and understand. I know that when I first rented this when it came out, I was mostly turned off because it was a gay movie. I don't usually watch gay cinema. I am not attracted to men, and seeing men act sexually makes me feel sick. This was different. Hedwig was kind of hot for a guy. I wouldn't take him out for coffee or anything, but at least I didn't have to see full on french kissing, and there was only a quick scene of under-the-sheets humping. Also, this movie took me back to when music inspired me the most as a young adult. It was this era that had me eyeballs deep into all sorts of rediscoveries and tricks I would do at home or in bands. Not those kinds of tricks..recording tricks! Anyway..this was fun. Good nom!