Kinky Boots

Movie Information

In Brief: Effortlessly charming musical comedy about a young man who tries to save the family shoe business by focusing on the drag queen niche market — with shoes that exude sexiness but can withstand the weight of a man. Calling on the aid of a drag queen to help design the shoes — a not entirely welcome presence at the factory — he sometimes feels he's gotten more than he bargained for. A delight of a little movie pushed to something like greatness by Chiwetel Ejiofor as Lola — a performance of humor, power and considerable complexity.
Genre: Comedy with Music
Director: Julian Jarrold (Brideshead Revisited)
Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Joel Edgerton, Sarah-Jane Potts, Nick Frost, Linda Bassett
Rated: PG-13

Julian Jarrold’s Kinky Boots is the Asheville Film Society’s second Chiwetel Ejiofor offering for October (his much praised 12 Years a Slave will open locally on Friday, Nov. 8). The movie has since been turned into a hit Broadway musical. Watching the film again, I’m inclined to think I sold it a little short in my original review. Ejiofor as drag queen Lola is definitely the best thing in the movie, but the movie itself is much better made and more creatively directed than I had recalled. The story centers around the failing shoe factory that Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton, much more appealing than in his other films) has inherited. His inspiration for saving the shoe business comes when he meets Lola and decides that there is perhaps a niche market in making sexy women’s footwear that can support the weight of drag queens. It turns out, however, that Charlie’s notions of sexy do not line up with Lola’s (he dismisses Charlie’s first attempt with, “Dear God, don’t tell me I have inspired something burgundy!”). But Lola is determined — even if it scandalizes the whole of Northampton in the process. Yes, there’s going to be a certain amount of “magic drag queen” who transforms things, but it nearly all works. And those little things that don’t are masked by Ejiofor’s incredible performance. (By the way, there really is a Kinky Boots Factory.)

The Asheville Film Society will screen Kinky Boots Tuesday, Oct. 22, at 8 p.m. in Theater Six at The Carolina Asheville and will be hosted by Xpress movie critics Ken Hanke and Justin Souther.

About Ken Hanke
Head film critic for Mountain Xpress from December 2000 until his death in June 2016. Author of books "Ken Russell's Films," "Charlie Chan at the Movies," "A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series," "Tim Burton: An Unauthorized Biography of the Filmmaker."

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