I Am Divine

I Am Divine

Jeffrey Schwarz (2013)

89min
amazon_maturity_rating|ages_13_and_older Certificate
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Review

Our Score
Aficionados of the films of John Waters will need no introduction to his muse Divine, a 300-pound drag queen who, among other startling style choices, shaved his hairline absurdly high because, as Waters explains in Jeffrey Schwarz's affectionate documentary, "there wasn't enough space on the human head for the amount of eye make-up he wanted to wear". Born in conservative 1940s Baltimore, Harris Glenn Milstead struggled with both his weight and bullies before meeting Waters, conjuring up Divine, and starring in the Pope of Trash's early underground films such as Female Trouble and Pink Flamingos (in which he notoriously ate dog faeces). Schwarz interviews friends and fans, piecing together a picture of a gentle, perhaps surprisingly shy man who channelled his family's rejection and his anger at society into his outrageous alter-ego. He eventually felt trapped by his creation but was on the cusp of attaining mainstream recognition after Waters's surprise 1988 hit Hairspray landed him a role in a popular TV sitcom. Tragically, he died of a heart attack the day before filming.

Summary

Documentary exploring the life of the famous drag queen, from troubled youth to cult icon. The film examines the development of his larger-than-life public persona through his lifelong collaboration with film-maker John Waters, as well as his foray into disco singing and desire to pursue a career as a dramatic actor. Featuring contributions by friends and family, including Waters and Hairspray co-star Ricki Lake.

Cast & Crew

Divine Divine
John Waters John Waters (2)
Ricki Lake Ricki Lake
Tab Hunter Tab Hunter
Mink Stole Mink Stole
Director Jeffrey Schwarz
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Other Information

Language: EnglishColourTheatrical distributor: Peccadillo PicturesGuidance: Swearing, drug abuseAvailable on: DVDReleased on: 18 Jul 2014
Documentary