I Am Divine follows the unconventional and sensational career of a Baltimore drag queen and his best friend. Born Harris Glen Milstead, Divine befriended filmmaker John Waters in high school and the two began making taboo art and cult films in the 1970s. One of their most infamous pieces, Pink Flamingos features Divine in the role of “Babs Johnson,” the “filthiest person alive” in one of the filthiest movies ever made.
The film follows the growth of Divine’s stardom, as well as the growth of cult “trash” films throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Featuring archived footage of the famous performer, I Am Divine tells the story of this cinematic starlet through her own words and actions, as well as interviews from her friends and contemporaries, including Divine’s dearest friend, John Waters.
This documentary film offers perspective on the impact Divine had, right up until respiratory failure claimed Divine’s life in 1988.
“This is a movie that’s really about how much fun Glenn Milstead had being Divine, and how he — perhaps unexpectedly — found so many fans willing to go along for the ride. That’s an American success story worth celebrating. ”
— Chris Kaltenbach, Baltimore Sun
“More than just a one-name star of pop culture’s alternative history, Divine’s story — terrorized by bullies, embraced by the outré, where he finds a home — stands for “all the outsiders,” as Waters says (between hilarious anecdotes). ”
— Joe Neumaier, New York Daily News
“An enjoyably naughty trip through Divine’s career that happily makes time to introduce us to Glenn Milstead, the sweet kid and fledgling hairdresser who transformed himself so daringly.”
— John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter
Did You Know
Having a big frame and an even bigger personality, Harris Glen Milstead, aka Divine, was able to successfully portray both male and female roles. Most notably, Divine played both genders in his very last film, 1988’s Hairspray. Divine also served as the inspiration for the villainess Ursula in the 1989 Disney animation, The Little Mermaid. Review our Gay Themed Documentaries Here
Read our interview with Jeffrey Schwarz
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Peccadillo Pictures