Kinky Boots (2005) – Movie Review

kinkyboots

Written by: Geoff Deane and Tim Firth
Directed by: Julian Jarrold
Starring: Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Sarah-Jane Potts, Nick Frost

My Advice: See it… see it NOW.

The basic story of Kinky Boots is familiar enough: underdog faces trouble and certain ruin and launches crazy plan in the hopes of making a remarkable, feel-good comeback. What is truly interesting, however, is that not only is this based upon the true story of a British shoe company, but that it is the story of some rather, well, kinky boots.

It all begins when Charlie Price (Edgerton) inherits his father’s traditional, staid shoe company and is quite unprepared for the inevitable financial setbacks this entails. Faced with laying off his entire staff and closing the doors, Charlie sets aside the objections of the World’s Most Irritating Fiancée and sets out to find a niche market. When Charlie has a chance encounter with cross-dressing singer Lola (playing with outstanding skill by Chiwetel Ejiofor, OBE, last seen displaying his creepy, gentle ruthlessness in Serenity), Charlie sees his niche: male transvestites who need sexy shoes that will support their weight. What follows is part comedy, part romance, part drama, and all splendor as we watch the Price shoe company’s very British staff get used to making stiletto healed boots with riding crops instead of men’s oxfords.

The film could easily have devolved into preachy-ville but does not, perhaps because it is reigned in by the kernel of “true story” here. While the message of “accept others, even if they are different and scary” is surely there, it does cut both ways. The film is anchored by the fantastic performance of Ejiofor as the larger-than-life and yet tragic Lola/Simon, who steals the screen as much when he’s dressed in a simple turtleneck sweater and jeans, as when he’s in full-on sequins and wig. I simply cannot say enough about the delicacy and grace of his performance. But without the fine supporting performances, this would have been merely a novelty film–and it is not: it is truly great. Edgerton does a wonderful job of being overwhelmed, determined, and despairing by turns as the new factory owner; Sarah-Jane Potts is charming without being cloying and manages to pull off resolute without being perky; but the surprise star is Nick Frost as working-class stiff Don, who does not at all relish the idea of working with Lola. His interaction with Ejiofor forms some of the film’s nicest moments.

The cinematographer also deserves props for some amazing framing moments, and the costumers deserve a medal for their work with the transvestite and club scenes. But the heart of this one is the interaction between Ejiofor, Potts, and Edgerton, and the fantastic writing of the screenwriters; it’s not easy to pull off heart-wrenching without just being pretentious or even boring, but this crew pulls it off and makes it look easy. Fans of British film, comedies in general, or even just people with an interest in shoes and/or cross-dressing will absolutely love this one. An Official Must-See.

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By | 2017-09-24T22:54:15+00:00 February 25th, 2010|Movie Reviews|3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Scraps February 25, 2010 at 11:12 pm

    Saw this on BBC America and absolutely Loved It! Definitely second the recommendation to see it now.

  2. Dan Donald March 1, 2010 at 12:17 am

    Fantastic movie. This is what you can expect from British comedy. Not trying to start a war here but I think that british comedy is the best in the world and I live in the United States. Most of their comedies are well written and dont make the viewing public feel dumb for having viewed them. If I could watch comedy from only one nation the rest of my life it would hail from Great Britain!

  3. Widge March 1, 2010 at 2:16 am

    Good Brit comedies are fantastic, no doubt about it. I must say–and perhaps our readers across the pond can comment–I wonder how much of that is overall quality and how much is we only import the ones that are any good. :-)

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