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Female Trouble (1974)


No Score Yet...

Average Rating: N/A
Critic Reviews: 1
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 0



liked it
Average Rating: 4/5
User Ratings: 7,228

My Rating

Movie Info

A riotously funny bad-taste epic from director John Waters, Baltimore's "Prince of Puke," this sick classic tells the depraved life story of obese criminal Dawn Davenport (Divine), from her bad-girl youth as a go-go dancer on Baltimore's infamous Block to her death in the electric chair. Mink Stole is terrific as Dawn's bratty daughter Taffy, conceived following a romp on a junkyard mattress with a fat derelict in soiled underpants (also played by Divine). Mary Vivian Pearce and David Lochary


Drama, Classics, Comedy

John Waters

Jun 14, 2005

Continental Home Video

Watch It Now



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All Critics (24) | Top Critics (5) | Fresh (15) | Rotten (4) | DVD (10)

One of John Waters' best and most notorious movies.

April 18, 2002 Full Review Source: Dallas Morning News
Dallas Morning News
Top Critic IconTop Critic

The Pop of Trash's follow-up to Pink Flamingos is a more hilarious, shocking and poignant feature, with Divine in top form.

February 19, 2012 Full Review Source: EmanuelLevy.Com

How does one follow up a legendary affront to decency? In John Waters' case, he moved on.

August 13, 2007 Full Review Source:

There's nothing divine about this earthly piece of trash.

February 3, 2007 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews | Comments (2)
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

Combined with...Waters' own private peculiarities, Female Trouble stands along side Pink Flamingos as a sure sign of this director's depth and talent.

August 22, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Verdict
DVD Verdict

For John Waters purists, this will be upheld as the real thing, but for most others, the licentious social commentary will only disgust or shock.

February 21, 2004 Full Review Source:

best seen as an early stab at satirizing the media and the overwhelming hype that is lavished on high-profile criminals

September 15, 2002
Q Network Film Desk

Best seen in small doses. Waters at his most outrageous

August 21, 2002
Mountain Xpress (Asheville, NC)

A wonderfully wicked film celebrating two things the director has always found fascinating: crime and beauty.

March 22, 2002 Full Review Source: Oregonian

How do you follow-up Pink Flamingos? Not with a work that tries to outdo that classic gross-out comedy, but rather by moving in another direction entirely that's just as subversive, if not more so.

March 14, 2002
New Times

Normal people should probably stay away, but twisted people and young filmmakers will find laughter, inspiration and joy here.

December 27, 2001 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

John Waters' most bizarre work is also his worst, a nonsensical palette of disgusting characters, bad acting, a baffling plot, and just plain bad taste.

November 4, 2001 Full Review Source:

Audience Reviews for Female Trouble

The criminal career of Dawn Davenport is documented in an attempt to prove the thesis "crime equals beauty," in typically gross Waters fashion featuring psuedo-rape, tacky wallpaper, child abuse, absurd makeup, a woman imprisoned in a bird cage, beehive hairdos, mainlining eyeliner, Divine as a go-go dancer, implied paedophilia, puke, murder, and Edith Massey's saggy naked breasts. Badly acted, edited and photographed--by design. Waters holds up a distorted lens to the unique stylistic and moral ugliness of the 1970s and creates a uniquely nightmarish world. Similar, but more focused, less gimmicky and funnier than the more famous PINK FLAMINGOS. Unflinchingly ugly and almost impossible to like, but worth seeing for adventurous cinemaphiles simply beacuse Waters' vision is utterly unique.
February 11, 2008
Greg S

Super Reviewer

God bless John Waters. He's made some of the best, crudest feel-good movies, and this is one of his crowning achievements. It's amazing how his film, ugly-looking and full of lipstick-smeared freaks, can feel positive and upbeat; while he's mocking everything in sight, he doesn't stand back and protect himself with irony or winks -- he jumps right in there, and that involvement, that energy, is easy to see and feel. It's amazing that he can feature masturbation with needle-nose pliers, beating a child with a chair, a game of "car accident," and Divine literally screwing himself and not have it be off-putting.

The very idea that Waters uses a fat transvestite with a beehive hairdo to illustrate his scorn for school shows he's not so interested in subtlety. And Divine is awesome, as always, his prissy, gravely scream -- a freak you want on your side. This is one of Waters' best satirical attempts -- there are digs at hippies and Hare Krishnas, and two scenes in particular are very prophetic: the gay encouraging, and the killing for art. Waters even mocks his own shameless exhibitionism in the testimony of the Dashers
January 8, 2008

Super Reviewer

For roughly half of its running time this plods along aimlessly but very entertainingly. However, when it finds focus and becomes a poorly developed satire on the celebrity of criminals, the gags dry up and boredom sets in. The problem is, because Dawn Davenport's so-called criminality is barely represented until her final murderous outburst, her claim to fame and notoriety seems very tenuous indeed. Like it or loathe it, "Serial Mom" tackled a similar theme more pointedly and more amusingly.
December 6, 2007

Super Reviewer

Demented fun movie which follows a bad girl named Dawn Davenport (Divine) and her criminal career. Her naughty daughter Taffy (Mike Stole), had me rolling on the floor. I loved it when Aunt Ida (Edith Massey) refuses to believe her son is straight and keeps trying to fix him up with a gay partner. The movie had its gross but hilarious moments, with Dawn having a baby and biting the umbilical cord, and the acid-wash make-up bald look she had during her trial scene; which was waay over-the-top. I used to dislike this movie, but now it's worth watching for Taffy's tantrums alone.
June 21, 2007

Super Reviewer

    1. Dawn's Mother: Not on Christmas!
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
    1. Dawn Davenport: Thank you! I love you! Thank you! Thank you from the bottom of my black little heart! You came here for some excitement tonight and that's just what you're going to get! Take a good look at ME because I'm going to be on the front of every newspaper in this country tomorrow! You're looking at crime personified AND DON'T YOU FORGET IT! I framed Leslie Bacon! I called the heroin hot line on Abby Hoffman! I bought the gun that Bremmer used to shoot Wallace! I had an affair with Juan Corona! I blew Richard Speck! And I'm so fucking beautiful I can't stand it myself! Now, everybody freeze! Who wants to be famous? Who wants to DIE for art?
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
    1. Taffy Davenport: Why can't I go to school? Why can't I have friends?
    2. Dawn Davenport: You can't go to school because I said so. I won't have you nagging me for lunch money and whining for help on your homework. There is no need to know about presidents, wars, numbers or science. Just listen to me and you'll learn. And no little friends over here, repeating rhymes, asking flippant questions, and talking in those nagging baby voices. Can't you just sit here and look out into the air? Isn't that enough? Do you always have to badger me for attention?
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
    1. Dawn Davenport: Davenport. Dawn Davenport! I'm a thief and a shitkicker, and, uh, I'd like to be famous.
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
    1. Dawn Davenport: Look at you, I could vomit.
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
    1. Dawn Davenport: She's been a hideous little girl today, she was about to get a good whippin'!
    – Submitted by Sylvester K (2 years ago)
View all quotes (16)

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Foreign Titles

  • Female Trouble + Polyester (DE)
  • Female Trouble + Polyester (UK)
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