“If a man says he likes it rough, kick him in the balls and see if it’s true.” Stage Mother tells the story of Maybelline Metcalf, a small-town Texas church choir director who inherits a gay bar when her estranged son dies of a drug overdose. While initially dubious, Maybelline quickly embraces her late son’s community and ends up taking an active role in transforming the club from failure to success.
Stage Mother is a sweet story about some hard topics. It’s schmaltzy and some parts – such as the mother’s quick transformation from homophobe to ally, and the way she is easily able to help a queen overcome drug addiction – don’t ring true. The obstacles are a little too easy to overcome, but it’s optimistic, positive and gives viewers a sweet message of reconciliation and acceptance.
The script is otherwise fairly strong and the characters, while still relying on stereotypes to some extent, are warm and genuine. The costumes (which develop from sparkly leotards and period costumes to an elaborate, multimedia extravaganza) don’t show all that drag is capable of, but give a window into this dynamic culture; wshile the wardrobe department don’t reinvent the wheel, there are some nice numbers in there. The way the queens develop their skills feels authentic – they won’t be winning Ru-Pauls Drag Race, but it’s great to watch them develop their vocals and put on a great show.
Stage Mother tells an uplifting story about a beautiful community with an important message of hope. It isn’t great cinema, but the fact that it exists is in itself something to celebrate.
Stage Mother is released digitally on demand on 16th November 2020.
Watch the trailer for Stage Mother here: