Hedwig and the Angry Inch is the story of a transgender East German named Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell). As a young boy, she meets Luther Robinson, an American soldier, in her home of East Berlin. The two fall in love, and decide to marry, which will allow her to leave East Germany. The only catch is that a marriage must legally be between a man and a woman, so it is decided that she will have a sex-change operation, which doesn’t entirely succeed, leaving her with a small lump of flesh between her legs, hence the “Angry Inch”.
Only a year after getting married and moving to America, Hedwig’s husband leaves her for another man, and the Berlin Wall falls, making her efforts appear all for naught. She decides to start up a rock band, in which she includes a young boy that she befriends, named Tommy (played by Michael Pitt). The two initially seem to fall in love, before Tommy leaves her and steals all of their material to transform himself into an international rock star.
Hedwig follows him on tour, telling her story to unsuspecting people at diners and cafes that she meets on the way, but is never able to interact with him. Years later, as she’s taken up being a worker on the streets, she runs into Tommy by coincidence, and the two seemingly reconcile. The film then finishes with an animated portrayal of the story Hedwig had told many times of the Platonic concept of soulmates.
“Stomps the summer movie competition with heart and humour.”
— Kevin Maynard, Mr. Showbiz
“This extraordinary flight from the humdrum is not to be missed.”
— Ed Epstein, Wall Street Journal
Did You Know?
Hedwig and the Angry Inch was overwhelming positively received by critics, many claiming that it could be the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. The story originated at Off-Broadway, where it ran for two years before being released as a film. The footage from the Rosie O’Donnell show was taken from a marketing campaign for the live theatrical performance, but incorporated also into the film. When performing on the David Letterman show, John Cameron Mitchell was not allowed to take off his wig, presumably because the studio didn’t want the audience to know he was in drag. Review our Gay Themed Films Here