Starring: Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu, Adrian Grenier
Director: Thom Fitzgerald
Running Time: 93 mins
Stage Mother is a Canadian film about a conservative mother who inherits her late son’s drag bar, and surprisingly sets about turning it into a success.
Although it’s not the most moving film you’ll ever see, Stage Mother is a wonderfully heartfelt story about the importance of family, in whatever guise it may be. With elegant music, pleasant performances and good humour, it’s a movie that really made me smile.
The best place to start with Stage Mother has to be its screenplay. As a pure drama, the film may lack real, challenging depth, but its genuine and wholly heartfelt approach to storytelling makes it an utter joy to watch.
A touching tale of a woman finding new purpose in life as she changes her opinions on her estranged son’s lifestyle, the film really blossoms as we see her form an intimate bond with the performers of a struggling but tight-knit drag club.
As a movie that aims to challenge negative perceptions of LGBT lifestyles, Stage Mother isn’t the most eye-opening film, as the initially ‘conservative’ mother takes to her new surroundings awfully quickly, as do many of the other characters who are meant to embody intolerance.
What’s more, the majority of the characters are a little one-dimensional, with Jacki Weaver’s character in particular coming across as some sort of infallible saint, without the real dramatic conflict that could have made her so much more interesting.
That’s a similar case with the supporting cast, though it never undermines the movie’s immense heart, bolstered all the more by the cast’s wonderful, family-like chemistry on screen.
In that, Stage Mother has all the ingredients of a movie to really make you smile. Sure, it may not be the most cerebral story, but it is an undeniably joyful and heartfelt tale that’s filled with elegance and passion throughout.
The movie delights with a wonderful soundtrack the blends jukebox hits with original songs, and although the story does take a little too long to properly wind down in the final act, it all comes to a close with a soaring musical finale.
Overall, I really liked Stage Mother. As I’ve said, it’s far from the most thematically challenging movie ever made, but it is surely one of the most heartfelt and joyful films I’ve seen in quite a while, and that’s why I’m giving it a 7.5.