Hedwig and the Angry Inch [2001]

Sometimes grace and hope come in surprising packages. The title character of Hedwig and the Angry Inch, a would-be glam-rock star from East Germany, undergoes a botched gender-change operation in order to escape from the Soviet bloc, only to watch the Berlin Wall come down on TV after being abandoned in a trailer park in middle America. Hedwig gets involved with Tommy, an adolescent boy who steals her songs and becomes a stadium-filling musical act. Suffering from a broken heart and a lust for revenge, Hedwig follows Tommy's tour, playing with her band (the Angry Inch) at tacky theme restaurants. Into this simple storyline, writer-director-star John Cameron Mitchell packs an astonishing mix of sadness, yearning, humor, and kick-ass songs with a little Platonic philosophy tucked inside for good measure. A visually dazzling gem of a movie. --Bret Fetzer

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