I've Got Trouble...Female Trouble

Posted by Miss Ess, July 20, 2007 01:15pm | Post a Comment
Look, I had never seen Female Trouble before last weekend at Midnight Mass.  I know, I know, and I am trying to make up for lost time here.

I am sure everyone has already spoken their piece and covered everything I would want to say about this movie, but if for some reason YOU still haven't seen it, what the hell are you waiting for?  It's genius, esp Divine's performance.
Unlike most of my pals, I am no John Waters expert. I have seen about 4 of his films before and mostly enjoyed them. At times I have felt the same way about John Waters movies that I feel about punk rock: I greatly respect and appreciate the aesthetic and message of the work but sometimes find the overall experience abrasive. Other times I find it exhilarating. What I am trying to say here is that I think John Waters is a total genius and think his ideas are dead on, but sometimes I find his movies or portions of his movies somewhat...harsh. Does that make any sense? 

In person, he's one of the sharpest, most intelligent and gracious people I have ever had the pleasure of meeting and he is twisted in all the right ways. Who else would suggest a Sing Along screening of his favorite film of the year, United 93? Who else would insist that the fact that the 9/11 attack on the more vaginally shaped Pentagon building is largely ignored while the more phallic Twin Towers are focused on further proves America's sexism?

911 Response:  Sexism at work?  You make the call.

Anyway, all that said, I adored Female Trouble. I loved it through and through. It's hard to imagine what audiences in the 70s must have thought when they saw it.  Well, I guess John told us himself in his interview with Peaches Christ before the screening of the movie: They thought it was total crap. He got horrible reviews. Those reviewers completely missed the point of the movie. It's about art and seduction and madness and control and it's all done so deftly and with so many hilarious characters.

Divine is absorbing and Real and fantastic to watch. I couldn't keep my eyes off of him. AsDawn Davenport, Divine plays a woman who is desperate for attention, any kind of attention. She just wants to be adored. 

She runs away from home, starts hanging out at the Lipstick Salon, a kind of uber-hipster-ville, and when the owners want her to model for them because they want to explore the blurry lines between beauty and crime, Dawn becomes an overly willing objet d'art.

The owners of the salon, Donald and Donna Dasher, are hilarious arty types whose outfits and attitudes remind me too much of hipsters today...The same things that are worth making fun of now were apparently also worth making fun of in 1974. I don't know if that is comforting or scary. I guess it's just a fact of life! Donald and Donna think sex is disgusting and would never do such a thing, but they just love watching and encouraging Dawn to commit crimes with greater and greater flamboyance! I don't want to ruin any of the movie for anyone who hasn't seen it, so I'm gonna stop there. 

It reminded me in a way of Boogie Nights, the way the movie focuses on one person and their god given "talent", the way the individual rockets to "fame" and acquires a sense of family, gaining speed more and more and more until the inevitable, equally rapid but sickly tragic downfall. I love the way both movies assume the viewer is actually intelligent enough to catch on to subtlety and to irony.

All the social commentary throughout Female Trouble is completely brilliant and I have nothing but admiration for John and Divine.

My next Waters flick viewing is gonna be Serial Mom, which I have not seen since I was about 13. I've seen enough Waters films to know that there is no way it will not leave an impression on me.

Relevant Tags

Peaches Christ (36), Boogie Nights (1), John Waters (22), Divine (3), Female Trouble (1), Midnight Mass (8)