Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hedwig and the Angry Inch

I don't know if you know this about me, but I have an extreme weakness for glitter and rock music. Anything that successfully combines these two things (David Bowie, Velvet Goldmine, etc.) is like magic to me. So when I realized I had never seen Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a movie about "a fictional rock and roll band fronted by an East German transsexual singer," I knew I had to see it right away.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about a boy named Hansel (John Cameron Mitchell) who is born in Communist Berlin and raised by his single mother. Hansel eventually meets an American GI Sergeant who agrees to marry him and take him to America. The only problem is Hansel has to have a sex change operation and become "Hedwig" for that to happen. Unfortunately, the sex change operation is botched and Hedwig is left with only an "angry inch." Neither man nor woman, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about Hedwig's struggle to find out who she really is.


The most important parts of this movie are the musical numbers (which isn't very surprising in a musical is it?). While I would sometimes get lost in what was exactly happening in the story, the songs always clarified whatever Hedwig was feeling at the time. It is through the music that we also learn about Hedwig's past and her relationship with "Tommy Gnosis" (Michael Pitt).

Inspired by Aristophanes' speech in Plato's Symposium (basically that the reason people feel "whole" when they are in love is because people once had double bodies but where split in half by Zeus), Hedwig is trying to become "whole" throughout the movie. Unfortunately, it's never as easy as one would hope. This movie is unbelievably sad at times and yet it never loses its charm.

It's just great.

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