Hedwig and the Angry Inch Reviews
As fun, funny, and energetic 'Hedwig and the Angry Inch' may be, its jumbled story and the way things are put together don't give me the emotional resonance I need to feel the way that John Cameron Mitchell's portrayal of the stage transvestite feels.
On a side note, the director could have replaced himself with Rosanna Arquette, and I would never have noticed.
In all honesty, my favourite musical film is The Rocky Horror Picture Show due to the over the top nature of its flamboyance and the fact that it just broke convention so much. Hedwig and the Angry Inch similarly deals with transgender related subject matter without sucking up to cliches of the musical genre.
Unlike Rock of Ages, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an actual rock musical. The songs in the film actually maintain rock spirit without having to force it into commercial territory as a means of achieving that or playing songs which are little more than novelty. Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an interesting musical because it tells its story through music without it being at the expense of dialogue, and yet at the same time it works as an effective character study for the titular character. The main focus of the film is on the titular protagonist as she tells her life story through music and flashbacks, as well as conveying all of her feelings. This never feels melodramatic, it feels touching and also spirited with all the energy of the songs. Frankly, Hedwig and the Angry Inch knows how to succeed as an effective narrative feature and a good musical at the same time, disregarding all the conventions put out by Hollywood cinema and taking a new path which proves successful. The musical and narrative structure of the film may not always be effectively balanced which can throw viewers off due to a sense of inconsistency, but those who are able to sit back and embrace the over the top nature of many elements in Hedwig and the Angry Inch should approve of it. For me, I got thrown off by this quite a bit as well as the fact that I was so interested in the film that I wanted a lot more from it, setting my expectations a bit high. The fact that some of the subject matter is simplified is important because it reminds us that transgender people are everyday people just like you and me, but I also felt like there was much more of a story to be told. The titular character Hedwig was such an intruiging character who has been through so much, and I guess the fact that the film really wanted to explore it all on location made me think that the scale of Hedwig and the Angry Inch would be larger than it actually was. If it were a stage production then it would be easier to embrace, but because it is a film I felt that it did not maintain enough narrative to precisely constitute a cinematic experience as a whole. But still, the general spirit of it all is there and John Cameron Mitchell has the best intentions at heart.
Frankly, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a groovy film. It may not be perfect, but its stylish glamour combined with its legitimate drama and complicated themes make it an effective medium for viewers to learn about transgender identity and love while sitting back and embracing the wonderful music of it all. It is clearly a very personal piece for John Cameron Mitchell and essentially his Citizen Kane due to the fact that he serves as the writer, director and star of the film. We have him to thank for everything in Hedwig and the Angry Inch, and his passionate spirit is wonderful in how it brings the story to life on screen. The main problem I have with Hedwig and the Angry Inch is that I wanted more, and that the short running time of the film was not enough to fully explore the concept as well as it should have been. But either way, Hedwig and the Angry Inch remains an effectively entertaining feature which stands out as a well crafted film and an effective directorial debut from John Cameron Mitchell.
Also, there is no denying the sense of style in Hedwig and the Angry Inch. With the scenery so accurately conveying a sense of various settings throughout the film but a production design which remains simple, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a colourful film. The cinematography evokes the feel of a documentary at many times which adds to the dramatic effect of the intended legitimacy in the film while at other times the cinematography is used very atmospherically to create a sense of melancholy to reflect the emotional experiences of the titular protagonist. John Cameron Mitchell finds ways to effectively tie the stylish nature of the film into the narrative as director and writer, and he uses it all to surround himself which hypes of the character he plays. Luckily enough he plays it perfectly.
John Cameron Mitchell is clearly a very complex man because there is nothing simple about a character like Hedwig Robinson. Effectively enough, John Cameron Mitchell manages to play her to the bone in every area with nothing but expertise. John Cameron Mitchell shows off his singing talents in Hedwig and the Angry Inch to really draw audiences in to the entertaining musical numbers, but more importantly he captures the intrigue of viewers with just how dedicated he is to the role. He captures the dramatic spirit of the character by conveying just how difficult it is to exist in a society which rejects the concept of accepting transgender women. He manages to really show just how difficult it is to live with such pressure and such complex psychology. John Cameron Mitchell captures the depth of his role and the spirit which transcends it to make Hedwig Robinson a rock star at the same time, easily going between the two personas without fear or struggles at transitioning. His performance is what really draws viewers in, and he directs himself through the material with incredible finesse which makes it one of the more memorable transgender character to be portrayed on the cinematic screen.
So thanks to John Cameron Mitchell's tenacious leading performance and powerful work as writer and director, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an entertaining and touching musical film despite its narrative inconsistencies and short running time.