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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 10.57%
Average: 1.63%
Pretty Bad: 3.25%
Total Crap: 2.44%

5 reviews, 93 user ratings

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Hedwig and the Angry Inch
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"The single best rock musical EVER MADE. No joke."
5 stars

Think about what rock musicals have been like. It's no surprise that when most people think about the rock musical, they think about midnight showings with tons of obsessed fans screaming as the movie plays out before them, decked in attire identical to that of the characters up on screen. One thinks of cultish style, no substance. In other words, when thinking about the rock musical, one immediately thinks "Rocky Horror", and there's a reason for that. Finally, someone has decided to take the rock musical seriously and it works better than one could've imagined. Ladies and gentlemen, whether you like it or not... "HEDWIG!"

Based on the off-Broadway hit of the same name, Hedwig and the Angry Inch is about Hedwig Robinson (John Cameron Mitchell), and his journey to find his "other half". While living in East Berlin, Hedwig (then Hansel) meets Sgt. Luther Robinson (Maurice Dean Wint), who over some gummi bears decides to marry him. The only problem is, he has to marry him in Berlin, which would require a physical examination. "To get away, you've gotta leave something behind," Luther tells Hansel. So it is agreed that Hansel must have a sex change operation. Unfortunately for Hansel (who changes his name to Hedwig), the doctor botched the operation, leaving him with nothing but an "angry inch". Luther and Hedwig run off to America, where Luther's wandering eye gets the best of him. Left alone, Hedwig just puts on some makeup, pulls the wig down from the shelf and goes back to her first love of music. That too has its problems: Hedwig gets involved in a relationship with Tommy Speck (Michael Pitt), who steals her music and becomes pop icon Tommy Gnosis. When we meet Hedwig at the beginning of the film, her and her band The Angry Inch are following Gnosis world tour in hopes of landing a successful lawsuit.

"Hedwig" rocks like no other movie I have seen in a long time. The soundtrack is (in my humble opinion) full of classic songs, and the film is full of audacious numbers to match them. I could easily be convinced that this film was made for upwards of $25 million. But obviously, style isn't dictated by budget (the film was made for $6 million). Just look at "Wig in a Box," where a trailer wall is kicked down to become a stage. Or "Angry Inch", where Hedwig's bold retelling of his past lashes out and causes the whole place to erupt. The music could've easily been tacky, but no. The songs, written by Stephen Trask, are punk rock masterpieces (some highlights including "Origin of Love", "Midnight Radio" and "Wig in a Box") that had me singing for days after. I am now convinced that the music industry would be on its way to redemption if more people could write with the gusto and originality of Stephen Trask's work.

The film's characters all have stunning emotional depth. Every character is developed, the relationships seem real, and they are all acted to perfection. That there is already more than you can say about most rock musicals. "Hedwig" is the brainchild of John Cameron Mitchell. He knows "this punk rock star" up and down and thus turns in a near flawless performance. Hedwig is bitter, stubborn and sarcastic, but never unpleasant for the audience to be with. Michael Pitt is impressive as the rip-off artist Tommy Gnosis, and Miriam Shor gives a wonderfully layered performance as Yitzak, Hedwig's husband/wife obviously unsure of her place in the world (just like Hedwig herself).

"Hedwig and the Angry Inch" has done what no other rock musical has done before. It refuses to give up the music for the story, or vice versa. Instead, the songs complement Hedwig's journey in such a way that we understand her position even more after each one. Now only one question remains: is "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" the greatest rock musical ever made? Hell, yeah.

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originally posted: 02/23/02 08:55:57
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 SXSW Film Festival. For more in the 2005 South By Southwest Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
4/13/15 jokerass lol 1 stars
2/13/09 Sonja Definitely nothing like RHPS but has its own charm. Refreshing. 4 stars
9/26/08 Timothy Kirkland Well though out movie, great writing. 2 or 3 powerful songs, point on acting 4 stars
9/02/08 pin very well made. great acting. wonderful soundtrack. a sad pleasure. 4 stars
8/24/07 Dark Enchantress great movie! 5 stars
8/23/07 AMT It was crazy, and scary, and appauling, but in an absolutely amazing thought provoking way! 5 stars
3/21/07 James Dunn Sing-a-long fun for all fans of Glam rock! Amazing songs! 5 stars
2/18/07 Nick Maday How do I describe how much I loved this movie, especially "What do you think of the pelt?" 5 stars
8/19/06 Verrine The movie, the music & the look were great. 5 stars
6/09/06 Polly-Anne Interesting, alittle trippy at times. Iwant her hair! 5 stars
5/24/06 Billy Death to us part 1 stars
9/19/05 Sam Poignant, bizarre, creative, thought-provoking... on my top 100 movies ever list 5 stars
10/22/04 Linda Perfect!!!! 5 stars
7/20/04 Tina Awesome Music. Loved It!! 5 stars
7/14/04 DM Moving, but not as much plain fun as "Rocky Horror" 4 stars
6/17/04 KT I love this as much as RHPS...and what's wrong with Tim Curry in fishnets? He's hot! 5 stars
6/11/04 tatum The best musically inclined film since "Cabaret" 5 stars
5/15/04 laura an excelant film !!! the best of it's kind !!!!! 5 stars
4/30/04 Jessica Visually and emotionally stunning 5 stars
4/22/04 Kristin Krawczak i would love to see this beautiful woman face to face someday! 5 stars
3/22/04 Leon Wish I had see it in a theater instead of Cable 5 stars
3/06/04 Kelly It's an awesome awesome movie. 5 stars
2/05/04 Pia My Oh how it completed Roskilde festival, with an open screen-show!! great! 5 stars
1/29/04 Darcy brilliant, completely amasing 5 stars
1/25/04 Elena I adore the sarcastic humour and subtle wit of Hedwig's character. ORIGINAL, WONDERFUL FILM 5 stars
12/26/03 Lynda Vick My whole family loved this movie! (Yes, I allowed my teens to watch it with us) 5 stars
11/28/03 Christine THIS MOVIE IS THE BEST!!! IT ROCKS!!! 5 stars
9/25/03 kevin great movie, even greater theatrical musical 5 stars
8/06/03 Lorenz Esguerra Enjoyed it n Sundance! Had to own the DVD! 5 stars
4/25/03 mr. Pink This movie fuckin ROCKS!!! 5 stars
3/23/03 the Number Yellow John Cameron Mitchell is brilliant. Words don't describe it. 5 stars
11/01/02 Marla brilliant 4 stars
10/27/02 katty how can you NOT like this?!?!?! 5 stars
10/02/02 Alexa John Cameron Mitchell is a genius. Micael Pitt is beautiful. Miriam Shor is amazing 5 stars
9/20/02 jacintha Absolutely the most wonderful, poignant, thought-provoking movie i have ever seen! 5 stars
9/07/02 Nettie This movie was SO amazing. It's Rocky Horror, Moulin Rouge in a beatiful love story 5 stars
7/24/02 zRebecca All crossdressed people in the film hate their persona. Trans Bashing Gay Movie; no thanks. 4 stars
6/09/02 hum interesting and apealing 4 stars
3/02/02 Unagiboy My favorite pic for 2001. This was the wittiest movie in a long time. 5 stars
2/27/02 natasha the movie about making the movie on the DVD is as good as the film itself 5 stars
2/25/02 KRP This is the best musical in a long time (even beats out Disney musical cartoons) 5 stars
2/20/02 Xaver Not a well made film. I didn't like the music. 2 stars
2/18/02 Andrew Carden Not Horrible, but Very Weak and Long Movie. 2 stars
2/15/02 rue the whirl i loved it. it was much better than "cats"...i'm going to see it again and again 5 stars
1/31/02 Don Hite Perfect mix of wit, music, and substance. Light-hearted and heart-wrenching at once! 5 stars
12/23/01 tenshi awesome movie!! one of my faves. right up there with rocky horror 5 stars
12/20/01 The Bomb 69 completely original, music was awesome and intrical to the storyline, more dialogue plz 5 stars
12/06/01 Mrs Reaney Will you sleep with me anybody. 5 stars
11/27/01 ^Elendil^ Musicals just don't work for me. 3 stars
11/09/01 Belinda Boring as hell. 2 stars
9/30/01 daniboy this should get nomianated 5 stars
9/26/01 steven The soundtrack was the first cd I bought, instead of downloaded, in a year-year and a half. 5 stars
9/03/01 KCobain Not too impressive. Overblown with too much filler. Doesn't make the grade. 2 stars
9/01/01 Andros Fucking awesome movie. Listening to the soundtrack that kicks ass! 5 stars
8/29/01 Cara The best time I've had at a movie in years. I'm still singing! 5 stars
8/25/01 Jake Overrated. Only mildly entertaining and doesn't mesh well. 3 stars
8/24/01 The Graduate Great music, and really moving. Surprisingly un-campy. See it in the theater! 5 stars
8/23/01 Marce I love Hedwig!!!!!!! 5 stars
8/22/01 Sean Kicks Ass 5 stars
8/21/01 Bridgette Summer Surprise 5 stars
8/18/01 bowie923 Amazing. Compelling, involving story + great music. 5 stars
8/16/01 Dave To say it is a gay Spinal Tap is not doing it enough justice! 5 stars
8/08/01 Vicious Toy/Electric Crotch The fucking summer movie of 2001! 5 stars
8/06/01 Jimmy S Blown Away 5 stars
8/06/01 Lynnette Kinter Amazing, Amazing, Amazing 5 stars
8/04/01 David Steinberg Goodbye to old notions of gender! 5 stars
8/04/01 Sarsi Snapdragon *orgasm* Damn, that was good. 5 stars
8/03/01 Mr. X Great movie, although it is missing some info from the stage production. 5 stars
8/02/01 Nick Romantic My God!!! I haven't been fucked like that since grade school. 5 stars
8/02/01 Greg The best film ever! 5 stars
8/02/01 killer I've been 5 times so far, and I aint quitin anytime soon. 5 stars
8/01/01 Two-Spirit Rock N Roll Queer Heaven.!!! 5 stars
8/01/01 pink addict utter brilliance 5 stars
8/01/01 erin it ROCKS! 5 stars
8/01/01 Wicked Little Sarah Pull your wig off the shelf and see this movie! NOW! 5 stars
8/01/01 jamie dont let the premise make you pre-judge...this has something for everyone! 5 stars
8/01/01 Daniel Hirshleifer Best movie of 2001, hands down! 5 stars
8/01/01 jamie dont let the premise make you pre-judge...this has something for everyone! 5 stars
8/01/01 Anthony No other film like it. Maybe I'm biased. 5 stars
8/01/01 Matthew Harris Havin' a "Barbie Doll crotch" may not be such a bad thing. 5 stars
8/01/01 Derek Martin this movie rules 5 stars
7/31/01 Loretta Jones Wonderful! Don't miss it! 5 stars
7/29/01 Kurt Translated brilliantly from stage to screen! 5 stars
7/28/01 Blubberbot I liked 5 stars
7/27/01 GeorgE McCaul i really liked this movie but RHPS is still #1 in my mind 5 stars
7/26/01 michael lavin Have seen the Manhatan off broadway Hedwig seven time and can't wait for the film version. 5 stars
7/24/01 david Hedwig Rocks!! 5 stars
7/21/01 skye LOVED IT! butiworrythathedwigwillbecomemainstreamandloseitscharm.notforeveryone. 5 stars
7/15/01 ZachF wonderful, best of Sundance 5 stars
5/25/01 Thor-Leo A blast. 5 stars
5/05/01 Irina Alex brilliant music,touching acting 5 stars
5/02/01 BitchGoddess Brilliant, hysterical, priceless, delicious, sarcastic, intimate, not just for gays at all. 5 stars
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  20-Jul-2001 (R)
  DVD: 11-Dec-2001

  17-Aug-2001 (15)

  01-Nov-2001 (MA)

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