(2005, USA/UK, English, 107 min)
Reviewed by Bruce Kogan
We on the other side of the Atlantic are only now getting to see this wonderful comedy/drama from the United Kingdom. Hard to believe for some that a film with drag entertainers could take its inspiration from Frank Capra.
But that's exactly what you have here. Charlie Price played by Joel Edgerton is a 21st century George Bailey, the closest I've ever seen to one portrayed in a long time. He's inherited his family business which is a shoe factory in Northampton. But the market is interested in the kind of craftsmanship his company has been known for over generations. Outlets are now buying cheaper stuff from the former Soviet bloc. He's letting his workers go.
One of them, Linda Bassett, tells him to get up and fight. And an inspiration hits him in the form of a spiked heel. He rescues what he first thinks is a woman, but it is a drag entertainer played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. Her spike has broken off in the attack and she's going to have to lay out some big money for new boots.
Like in the old cartoons, a lightbulb goes on over his head and he realizes there's a market here untapped for feminine footwear for cross-dressers. And who better to design the stuff than the person who knows her needs best.
It's not as easy as it sounds. Edgerton has a whole load of issues to overcome as does Ejiofor in learning to trust and respect his new business partner.
If you've seen any of Frank Capra's populist classics from the Thirties and Forties you already know what the ending will be.
Though for the life of me I cannot see James Stewart doing what Edgerton almost has to do to save the situation at the fashion show.