cranky home
Reviews since 1993:   A-E     F-N      O-Z    Posters       Who We Are and Why We Do What We Do         Search the Site

Your Donations support the Site

Top Selling DVD     Books

50 Shades of Grey
Exodus Gods and Kings
Grand Budapest Hotel
Imitation Game, The
Into the Woods

Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit
Theory of Everything
Ride Along
We're the Millers
The Great Gatsby
The Avengers
Amazing Spider-Man
Girl w/ Dragon Tattoo
Dark Knight Trilogy
World War Z
Happy Feet 2
Iton Man 3 combo
Batman Begins
Dark Knight
Fifth Element
The Hangover
Hunger Games
James Bond 11 disc coll.
Lord of the Rings trilogy
Mission Impossible GP
Sherlock Holmes AGOS
Singing in the Rain
Snow White Huntsman
Star Trek Into Darkness combo
Star Wars Saga
21 Jump Street
Ultimate Matrix coll
X-Men First Class
X-Men Trilogy
X-Men Wolverine

 BLU-Ray for Family DVDs 
Alice in Wonderland (2010)
A Bug's Life
Chronicles of Narnia set
Harry Potter 1-8 collection
Iron Man 2 combo
Kung Fu Panda
Lord of the Rings Trilogy Pinocchio
Pirates of Caribbean trilogy
Pixar short films
Shrek the Whole Story
Sleeping Beauty
The Smurfs
Snow White & 7 Dwarfs
Star Trek motion pictures set
Star Trek TNG Season One
Star Wars Saga (1-6)
Toy Story combo
Toy Story 2 combo
Toy Story 3 combo
Wall-E SE


Search engine by FreeFind
Click to add search to YOUR web site!
click to search site

Alice in Wonderland
Beauty and the Beast
Kung Fu Panda
The Lion King
Mary Poppins 45th LE
Princess Mononoke
Shrek the Whole Story
Simpsons Movie
Spider-Man Trilogy
Spirited Away
Star Trek movies set
Star Trek TOS (TV)
ST:TNG complete tv set
Star Wars Trilogy (1-3)
Star Wars Trilogy (4-6)
Toy Story DVD combo
Toy Story 2 DVD combo
Toy Story 3 DVD combo
Wallace and Gromit
Wall-E SE

Buy Movie collectibles
TV/Movie Collectibles

movie review query engine

NY film critics online

Privacy Policy

click for full sized poster
Buy the Poster

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Starring John Cameron Mitchell, Andrea Martin, Michael Pitt and Miriam Shore
Screenplay by John Cameron Mitchell, based on his play
Songs by Stephen Trask
Directed by John Cameron Mitchell

IN SHORT: Rock musicals come in many shapes and sizes. This is one of the better ones. [Rated R for sexual content and language. 95 minutes]

We admit we've never cared much for musical anythings, short of the purest forms, in concert or a recording. Don't care much for musical plays and even less for music on film, unless the story somehow managed to make the music absolutely integral to the story. That usually meant a story about a band (a la the mockumentary This Is Spinal Tap) or some kind of performance artist (which is what, ultimately, Rocky Horror Picture Show was). All this revelation brings us around; the long way around to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, which manages to be about both a band and, at first appearances, a drag performer. It is also a major surprise. A tragedy with a lot of humor and a great rock score which took two prizes at Sundance

As we've written before, winning a prize at a film festival is usually a sure early warning indicator that the film is going to make the average Joe want to run for the hills. That's not the net effect of Hedwig, though the looks of the star (writer/director John Cameron Mitchell) may give those of you who've never had exposure to glam rock, pause. Simply, glam (as introduced by the likes of the New York Dolls, David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Lou Reed et al) featured hard rock playing bands in heavy duty mascara and makeup. Wigs and sequined garb optional, but not discouraged.

It wasn't the makeup that thrilled young Hansel Schmidt of East Berlin. It was the sound of "American Rock". Hansel's mom went East when the Berlin wall went up. His dad was a GI Joe who got booted out of his life when mom caught him getting all touchy feely with the then seven year old kidlet. Li'l Hansel spent his play time in a self-built shrine to the American rock 'n' rollers he'd hear on Armed Forces Radio. Lou Reed. David Bowie (even though he was a Brit). Toni Tenille. All the Greats. When Hansel was offered a way out of the cellblock that was Berlin, mom didn't blink twice when she met the intended. His name was Sgt. Luther Robinson (Maurice Dean Wint) and the courtship was real, as was the legal requirement that Hansel be inspected to "prove" he was a woman.

"Well," said mom, "to walk away you've got to leave something behind." In this case it was Hansel's "little richard," and the surgeon that did the job botched it. Thus, the Angry Inch of the title, and the creation of "Hedwig," a loving wife abandoned by her hubby in a Kansas trailer park. How Hedwig finds a career fronting a band stalking a stadium rock level band named and led by Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt) is part of the tragedy of this comedy.

You wouldn't think psychological trauma, a botched chop job and the resulting confusion of sexual identity could yield comedy, but it does. You may not think there could be much of interest to a middle of the road audience that doesn't much care for anything with any hint of a homosexual theme, but we're thinking you might be wrong about that as well. Hedwig's quest is for love. His/her problem, as detailed in one of the songs by Stephen Trask (with visuals by animator Emily Hubley) is that, post-operation, he/she/it has no idea where it belongs on the grand scale of male/female relations. Hedwig's second husband, the band's guitarist Yitzhak (Miriam Shore), is just as unhappy with the questions as Hedwig is. That the group is playing a tour of the Bilgewater salad bar restaurant chain, stalking and playing the same songs as the stadium rock band Tommy Gnosis, is just part of the grand drama built into the script. Andrea Martin costars as Phyllis Stein, the band's manager and, sometimes, sole fan.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch began its life as an off-Broadway show and its roots show only as you get near the end of the flick. Its indie budget doesn't allow a big enough penultimate scene -- one final song once success rears its ugly head -- and the story itself veers off in a way which we didn't understand.

On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Hedwig and the Angry Inch, he would have paid . . .


Hedwig is being marketed (initially) via gay film festivals, which means most of our audience won't have a chance at it until it hits the video racks. Seek it out, if for nothing more than the classic rock sounding pseudo glam soundtrack (which can be sampled on the website)

amazon com link Click to buy films by John Cameron Mitchell
Click to buy films starring Andrea Martin
Click to buy films starring z
Click Here!

The Cranky Critic website is Copyright © 1995  -  2017  by Chuck Schwartz. Articles by Paul Fischer are Copyright © 1999 - 2006 Paul Fischer. All images, unless otherwise noted, are property of,©, ®, their respective studios and are used by permission. All Rights Reserved. Not to be used or copied for any commercial purpose. Academy Award(s) and Oscar®(s) are registered trademarks and service marks of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.