Horrorible Review: “Kinky Boots”

Enjoy this Monday with Mildred!

Kinky Boots movie poster

Kinky Boots

By request, I am straying from the horror field this week.  Kinky Boots is a deceptively simple story about a shoe factory in England on the brink of closing its doors when a change of product challenges every person involved with life changing, difficult decisions.

The film begins with a flashback of a little girl trying on mommy’s fabulous red pumps and dancing along the pier while waiting for dad, who notices and angrily tells his son to knock it off. Far away, another boy learns from dad that the most beautiful thing in the world is shoes.  Years later the boy has inherited dad’s shoe factory, and the increasingly desperate Charlie Price spots a woman being chased down an alley by thugs and intervenes, which is how he meets Lola the lonely dancing boy.  Lola inspires Charlie to go for a niche market of women’s shoes for men, creating ever more daunting challenges than losing the family business.

What you might expect to be the crisis of the story – acceptance of the new clientele and product – is actually one of several story lines in the film.  There are many challenges and crises for all of the characters, both leading roles and supporting, but the story chugs away steadily.  You might think that would dilute the drama from all of the story lines but they are woven together so well I felt the many facets strengthened the film, and it needed that because nothing comes as a surprise. Late in the movie a character defines the theme, just in case we haven’t twigged to it yet, “I cannot change what I want.” And not one character does manage to change what they want, though some discover they didn’t really know what that was.

The movie is beautifully made, with rich settings, art direction and cinematography.  The factory scenes occur in an actual ancient shoe factory and the actors portraying the workers were trained by the actual shoe factory workers. The camera moves but not too much, and shows us the story from always interesting angles.  The choreography and staging of the dance numbers is beautiful and fun. Every actor down to Lola’s backup dancers and Nick Frost as a bigoted factory worker give strong performances. Chiwetel Ejiofor, like not a few talented English and Australian actors before him, is completely believable as the loveable and wise drag queen who fixes everyone around her.

That’s unfortunate.  Despite how much I enjoyed the movie and his performance, Kinky Boots is yet another film that does not let the drag queen be a fully sexual person and I wonder if that is because the Brits, who are famously easy with playing drag, are not so comfortable with the whole nature of that scene. It’s too easy to enjoy the rousing stage shows and swoon over how good one of the world’s finest actors looks in shiny red boots than wonder why we are getting yet another character who rescues the struggling straight guy while teaching him valuable life lessons.

The story of Kinky Boots is inspired by true events, though there’s more fiction than history in the movie.  The added parts work well, though, and I recommend watching the extras for an interview with the real factory owner.

Currently there is a stage play based on the movie traveling the country, with music and lyrics by Cyndi Lauper and book by Harvey Fierstein, which has even more singing and more dancing, and is getting strong reviews.  You might want to look for it at the theaters near you.

Absolutely check this movie out because it’s heart-warming, fun and well made.

LINKS:

Kinky Boots (2005) – Movie Trailer

CFR: In Addition: I agree with Mildred. This is a good movie and Hubby and I enjoyed it thoroughly.

And: Kinky Boots on Broadway!

Kinky Boots Official Broadway Site

Get a look at KINKY BOOTS on Broadway!

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