Hedwig and the Angry Inch (2001)

Raised a boy in East Berlin, Hedwig undergoes a personal transformation in order to emigrate to the U.S., where she reinvents herself as an “internationally ignored” but divinely talented rock diva, inhabiting a “beautiful gender of one.”


Hedwig and the Angry Inch is an amazing musical about identity, how it is created, copied, rejected and embraced. On the surface of it, it's the story of a transgender rock star from East Berlin tracking her former lover who has stolen all her songs, and it's told mostly in a series of performances and monologues (which lead into flashbacks). But the very entertaining surface, full of crazy glampunk, dry humor and fun songs, is only one of many levels the film has to offer. Its flirtation with androgyny is obviously inspired by the rejection of traditional gender in everything from Rocky Horror to David Bowie to Queen to Poison, and suggests that rebellion is as essential as anything in rock and roll. Imagery pulled from both the Bible and Greek Myth intimates that we are all partly male and partly female, which eliminates the need to label it. Hedwig and her paramour Tommy Gnosis are but two halves of the same soul, a statement that may make sense of the odd ending, but then, the gender theme (and that of Berlin and its wall) can also be used as a symbol for wholeness, or un-wholeness, so long as we feel we need another person to feel complete. With its comical songs and energetic numbers, you wouldn't expect this to be such a thinker, but it most definitely is.

2 years ago

Dorothy Valens

This film has some of the best music, I'm not a fan of musicals, however this one is greatly tolerable.

10 years ago


I got a rocky horror vibe, more so from the music than the main character. The way it was shot felt very Terry Gilliam. Ticked a lot of boxes for me, really great, will be showing to friends who like weird movies.

5 years ago

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