Two nights ago I went to see a film that I'd wanted to see for a while, Kinky Boots.
The film stars Star Wars prequel trilogy actor Joel Edgerton (Uncle Owen) and Serenity's "The Operative" *Chiwetel Ejiofor.
Charlie Price (Edgerton) grows up under the loving guidance of his father, a successful, third generation shoe manufacturer in provincial Northampton, who intends for Charlie to take over his position as head of the factory. But Charlie has different aspirations and wants to escape the small-town life so he moves to London with his girlfriend. Then the unthinkable happens, his father dies. The factory, by this time, is ailing and Charlie has to find a solution in order to save the jobs of his father's loyal employees and to reluctantly preserve (at first) his legacy. By a small twist of fate Charlie, in a drunken state, meets Lola (Ejiofor), a drag queen, and becomes inspired to make a positive and bold change for his factory.
Australian Edgerton gives a fine performance as Charlie Price who manages to convince as a Midlander and has some sweet scenes, but it is Ejiofor that absolutely steals this show head-to-toe. More so because Lola is larger than life but delightfully lacking the over-the-top caricatures so often seen in other films. Ejiofor offers an intelligent guilelessness, a subtle warmth and reality (humanity in other words) to the diva very much like Terence Stamp's award-winning performance as Ralph/Bernadette Bassenger in The Adventures of Priscilla Queen of the Desert.
Even though this film is part of the typical British little-guy-against-the-odds genre it is set apart by one glittering special performance and is worth the effort to see for that alone.
To see this alone would be shorting Ejiofor his due as an actor with an exceedingly large range. Check out his **performances in Dirty Pretty Things, Amistad, Serenity, Four Brothers, Love Actually, She Hate Me, Melinda and Melinda (clearly the best thing about this film) and you'll see what I mean.
*Chewy to his friends.
** and all the Star Wars connections