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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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by EricDSnider

"A poignant, funny and truly original film."
5 stars

John Cameron Mitchell's off-Broadway camp smash "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" translates to the screen in a way that recalls "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" (the audience is even invited to sing along at one point, and transsexuality is an ongoing theme), except with better acting and more depth. (Also separating it from "The Rocky Horror Picture Show" is that it doesn't suck.)

Mitchell co-wrote and stars in the film as Hedwig, who was born Hansel in East Berlin and came to America by marrying a G.I. No way the commies were letting two men get married, though, so Hansel had a sex change operation that gets botched, leaving him somewhere between male and female (the "angry inch" of the title, if you get my drift).

Before long, Hansel, now called Hedwig, is living in a Kansas trailer park with his husband, who promptly leaves him for another guy. Here is some of Mitchell's best emoting as an actor, conveying in a mournful look (and a great song) exactly how it would feel to have a sex-change operation in order to flee your homeland, only to be left behind by your lover once you arrived in America. Great movies make bizarre situations seem universal, and that's exactly the case here.

Hedwig gets a job babysitting, while simultaneously starting a loud rock band. The older brother of one of her charges is 17-year-old Tommy (Michael Pitt), a born-again Christian lad who becomes Hedwig's lover and protege. Hedwig teaches him music and re-christens him Tommy Gnosis; Tommy Gnosis steals Hedwig's songs and becomes a huge rock star. Hedwig sues, but Tommy denies ever knowing him.

All of that happens before the movie starts, and is told to us through flashbacks and through Hedwig's songs, which he/she sings at concerts backed by his/her band, the Angry Inch. Hedwig and the band are shadowing Tommy's concert tour, playing at crappy restaurants as close to Tommy's venues as they can get.

No offense to "Rocky Horror," but "Hedwig" has better music, too, written by Stephen Trask. "The Origin of Love" is an amazing power-rock story about how people originally had four arms and legs and two faces, but were split in half by the gods and have ever since had to look for the person who will complete them.

This song is crucial to the film's central themes; fittingly, it's an incredibly poignant number. Hedwig's whole life has been about looking for his/her other half; the movie is about that search, and whether we really need another person to help us feel good about ourselves.

Verbally witty and musically appealing, "Hedwig and the Angry Inch" is edgy and smart. Mitchell's direction is visual but understated -- plenty of fun things to look at, but he's not flashy about it.

Even better, there's no Tim Curry in fishnet stockings.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 03/12/01 17:54:02
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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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