Female Trouble


Female Trouble

Critics Consensus

Director John Waters' affection for camp brings texture to societal transgression in Female Trouble, a brazenly subversive dive into celebrity and mayhem.



Total Count: 25


Audience Score

User Ratings: 7,369
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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 co-star as crazed owners of a beauty-parlor who are convinced that "crime equals beauty," and they take Dawn under their wings, forcing her to mainline liquid eyeliner to enhance her appeal. Edith Massey steals the film as Dawn's obsessive neighbor, Ida, who wants her nephew to be gay (because heterosexuals lead "sick and boring lives") and throws acid in Dawn's face when she marries him. A hilariously appalling film, Female Trouble is just as disgusting and far funnier than Waters' previous Pink Flamingos, if not as notorious.


as Dawn Davenport/Earl Peterson
David Lochary
as Donald Dasher
Mary Vivian Pearce
as Donna Dasher
Mink Stole
as Taffy Davenport
Edith Massey
as Aunt Ida Nelson
Susan Walsh
as Chicklette
Paul Swift
as Butterfly
George Figgs
as Dribbles
George Hulse
as Teacher
Roland Hertz
as Dawn's Father
Betty Woods
as Dawn's Mother
Hilary Taylor
as Taffy as Child
Channing Wilroy
as Prosecutor
Seymour Avigdor
as Defense Lawyer
Elizabeth Coffey
as Earnestine
Sally Turner
as Divine's double
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News & Interviews for Female Trouble

Critic Reviews for Female Trouble

All Critics (25) | Top Critics (2) | Fresh (22) | Rotten (3)

  • The resulting feast of sex, violence, cruelty, and frivolity mocks sentimental notions of family, work, and love, and turns the egomaniacal furies of pop culture inside out.

    Dec 17, 2018 | Full Review…
  • One of John Waters' best and most notorious movies.

    Apr 18, 2002 | Rating: B-
  • In many ways, Female Trouble treads the same ground as Network. It is a prescient look at what it means to be famous and what happens when we finally cross the line.

    Aug 13, 2019 | Full Review…
  • It is this reversal, the realization that the freak is an essential part of a social whole and that beauty falls into contradiction by attempting to be both normative and expressive of individuality, that Female Trouble executes in uproarious fashion.

    Nov 7, 2018 | Full Review…
  • A healthy appreciation of both low and high art gives one a balanced perspective that can enhance the understanding of both aspects... Female Trouble uses this concept of the duality of ugliness and beauty in the characterization of Dawn.

    Nov 6, 2018 | Full Review…
  • Further cementing John Waters' legacy as that rare filmmaker who can weave between exploitative trash and high art.

    Oct 29, 2018 | Rating: 5/5 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Female Trouble

  • Aug 20, 2018
    While this revolting film is daring, funny and provocative for quite some time, soon it becomes insufferable with a bunch of people shrieking around without end and yelling at each other for much longer than our patience can take (hell, of course, this is John Waters).
    Carlos M Super Reviewer
  • Oct 15, 2011
    This is one of Waters' more political comedies, it's hilarious to watch, so campy and yet you can't help but laugh at the stupid dialogues.
    Sylvester K Super Reviewer
  • Jul 29, 2009
    Featuring virtually the same cast as the more famous "Pink Flamingos" and in my opinion, I found it to be not as good as its predecessed, but it is still a decent flix with a bizarre story, good exploitation values.and quite amusing scenes for which the film isn't a complete waste.
    John M Super Reviewer
  • Dec 05, 2008
    "I wanted Cha Cha heels" screams the 300 pound drag queen, before heading off to a life of murder, disfigurement, and stardom. Divine's speech at the end is one of the greatest things ever.
    Shane D Super Reviewer

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