Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

hedwig and the angry inch poster 2001 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 9/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great acting, great looking musical

Not for everyone, interpretational ending

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Hedwig and the Angry Inch

Studio:  Killer Films/New Line Cinema

Genre(s):  Musical/Comedy/Drama

Release Date(s):  July 20, 2001

MPAA Rating:  R


Farrah Fawcett…you’ve got nuthin’ on me!!!

Hedwig (John Cameron Mitchell) born Hansel Schmidt finds herself in a legal battle with rock superstar Tommy Gnosis (Michael Pitt).  As he tours the country dogging Tommy Gnosis, Hedwig sings the story of her life and how he became a she.  Hedwig tells of her escape from Communist East Germany just before the fall of the Berlin Wall through a forced botched sex-change surgery, and how he became trapped in America.  Hedwig is angry to the world, but can she ever find peace and the fame she deserves?

Written, directed, and starring John Cameron Mitchell, Hedwig and the Angry Inch adopts Mitchell’s 1998 musical.  The movie was critically claimed and Mitchel earned a Golden Globe nomination plus awards for Best Directorial Debut from the National Board of Review, the Gotham Awards, and Los Angeles Films Critics Association.  The movie also scored highly in Sundance where it was award the Best Director award and the Audience Award.


So…wanna make out?

The original stage musical of Hedwig and the Angry Inch was a very interactive musical with rabid fans.  Fans were not disappointed by the film version which smartly didn’t try to recast or change up too much.  The result was a movie which became its own cult hit and received a lot of comparisons to another cult musical in The Rocky Horror Picture Show.

What helps with Hedwig (and something that The Rocky Horror Picture Show doesn’t have) is that the story of Hansel aka Hedwig is a really interesting story and study of transgender people.  Hedwig may or may not be a true transgender person.  He was gay, but the surgery was something to get out of East Germany.  It is a bit unclear if he would have chosen to be a woman or if he was happier as a gay man…he ended up neither.


I’m not angry anymore…yeah!

The story is a story of the irony of life and how things just sometimes don’t work out.  Hedwig is continuously sacrificing himself/herself and it doesn’t pay out…like his botched sex change to get out of East Germany just before the fall of the wall and the leaving of the man for whom he did it.  Hedwig’s rage toward life comes out in his music but through the course of the movie, he ends up finding peace with himself.

Filled with complex characters, Hedwig and the Angry Inch also looks and sounds great.  The music is complex, smart, and quite catchy, but the film is also shot in a way that looks great and captures the spirit of the musical and Hedwig.  It is a great tribute to John Cameron Mitchell that he could pull off this together since often, stage doesn’t translate to film.

Hedwig and the Angry Inch is a fun movie that should be sought out.  It can probably appeal to those who aren’t fans of musicals, but it might be too much for many with the bizarre plotline and interpretational ending.  Hedwig is a musical for the modern age…Hedwig might be angry, but you’ll have fun.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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