All right I’m trying to get through some Netflix movies, because guess what: I have 457 movies/tv show discs in my queue (not including 25 saved). So last week after an exhausting day and lengthy trip between my school and the Museum School for an also-lengthy drawing class, I collapsed into bed with some fried rice and no intention of doing anything other than relaxing. Popping in Kinky Boots to top off the evening turned out to be a good idea!
The film tells the story of Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton), whose shoemaker father ran an independent shoe factory in rural, small-town Northampton, England. After his death, Charlie is forced to take over the business, despite his recent marriage, job in advertising, and move to London. With the factory on the brink of financial collapse, he’s starved for ideas to reinvigorate it. After running into drag queen and club singer Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor) and learning of his profession’s perpetual snag of women’s stilettos’ weakness under a man’s weight, Charlie decides to corner this niche market and design women’s boots for men. Lola goes to Northampton to provide the designs and help in the production, both scaring and befriending various townspeople and factory workers. His lifestyle makes most people (including, to some extent, Charlie) uncomfortable, but he braves the stares for the sake of creativity, small businesses, clueless factory managers, and men seeking fashionable high-heeled boots everywhere. There’s some romantic stuff in there, too.
This movie rode the line between comedy and drama pretty hard, though leaning slightly more to the lighter side. I was ok with this, not expecting any kind of gut-buster or tear-jerker. I cared about the characters and really liked the story. A good amount of tension was built up to the final fashion show in Milan, keeping my interest throughout. I dug Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance, especially his interactions with Charlie and the homophobic factory worker Don (Nick Frost). The film isn’t exactly breaking any barriers for gay rights but it presents an engaging cross-cultural relationship and throws in some fashion and musical sequences. Enough to keep anyone happy!
Note: Excitement! According to the film’s Wikipedia page, “A Broadway musical version of the film is currently in the works, with producers Daryl Roth and Hal Luftig and helming the project.” Eep! Musicals!