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Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: Kinky Boots

This is me apologizing to everyone I’ve ever lived with (mostly you, Mom) for watching this movie every time it pops up on TV.

Kinky Boots is a “based on a true story but we won’t tell you the real ending and we took a lot of creative license” type of movie that we have seen countless times. It’s not the best movie, but it is extremely fun. Probably less in-your-face fun than the musical inspired by the movie, but that’s probably because the movie is pretty… British.

The movie follows Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton as the most awkward man ever) as he tries to keep his family’s Northampton shoe factory afloat despite the fact that sales have been terrible for years.

This is his default expression pretty much the entire movie.
This is his default expression pretty much the entire movie.

He is encouraged by factory worker Lauren (Sarah-Jane Potts) to diversify his product and find a niche market. Charlie’s chance encounter with a drag queen, Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor) helps him identify said market. Charlie, Lola, Lauren, and the Price & Sons Factory workers still employed work around the clock to make boots for drag queens to be shown at the Milan Shoe Fair and to hopefully save the factory.

There are of course hijinks and misunderstandings. Charlie’s fiancé, Nicola, is completely unimpressed with this plan (especially when Charlie starts working exceptionally late and makes risky personal finance choices).

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She hates so many things about her life and I don’t blame her.

Lola’s entire being shocks the small conservative small town, which leads to a crisis of character for her. At first, she projects a brazen disregard for small town social conventions, but her desire to be respected and treated like a human being (how dare she!), makes her question her drag self. Lola’s struggle with herself and her relationship with her father (especially in relation to Charlie’s desire to protect his family’s legacy) is the best part of the movie, mostly because Chiwetel Ejiofor is so magnificent and tragic and hilarious.

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Pretty much sums up how anyone should feel about those boots.
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Don (Nick Frost) questioning some things.

Despite the town’s homophobia (because we have to be able to sort of neatly tie this narrative together and the best we can do is slight discomfort by some and mostly enlightened acceptance by most) and reluctance to change the product, everyone eventually comes around to the idea and shows a surprising amount of aptitude for creating the boots.

Skeptical.
Skeptical.

Also, old people are funny.

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Charlie also lets his insecurities about the factory, his plan, his relationship with his father, his future with his fiancé, and his friendship with Lola come to a head when he finds out about Nicola’s cheating, and takes it out on Lola with some light homophobia. (Trust no one who when angry resorts to homophobia and/or racism, come on, Lola.) After Lola rightfully bails on Milan, Charlie begs her back and then is thrust into the most awkward third act ever on screen.*

*Not actually true, but close enough.

A Close Analysis of the Milan Show

  • Left without dancers and Lola, awkward turtle and heterosexual (as seen by his dad sneakers and terrible hair) Charlie is going to walk the runway for his factory. A task which I’m sure many others have done. He is terrified.

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  • This is exactly the face I would make if I had to walk down a runway.

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  • Even the kindly factor worker knows when someone is completely up shit creek.
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Mr. Price has dun goofed.
  • Watch as Charlie cycles through gaining confidence and fearing for his life, like most people who wear high heels (internal monologue provided by me, not Charlie):
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“I should’ve worn pants. These boots don’t count as pants.”
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“I’ve got this gravity thing under control.”
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“OH GOD. I DIDN’T WANT TO GO OUT LIKE THIS.”
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Are those bedazzled on the bottom? Yes. Of course. Why wouldn’t they be? Death traps.
  • We are all that girl in the bottom right corner.
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Loling at your misery, tbh.
  • Don’t worry, Lola forgives you. She is also SAVING LIVES in more ways than one.
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POWER
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POWEEEEEEEEEEER
  • If you’re wondering what Charlie is up to during Lola’s show stopping performance, it’s just a little cowering in the center of the stage.
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No one can see my shame with this sheer dress train wafting over me.
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No, this looks totally natural. You’re fine.
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Ah yes, the awkward off-beat tapping your hands along with the music. Now they’ll see you’re cool and totally down with everything happening.
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Just chilling on a runway in the middle of a drag show, what have you done today?
  • Lola and crew are not deterred by Charlie just paralyzed with fear and shame in the center of the runway.
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Ignore the awkward man because we are too busy being AWE-INSPIRING.
  • Goddamnit, Charlie.
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“I have the best seat in the house!”
  • We need a huge climax because this show-stopping number wasn’t enough!
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You know what to do, girl.
  • OMG LAUREN AND CHARLIE ARE IN LOVE YOU GUYSSSSSSS.
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PUBLIC DISPLAYS OF HETEROSEXUAL AFFECTION.

The fashion crowd goes wild because they thought they were just getting a guy failing at a runway walk and a potential YouTube sensation, but instead got a performance piece in several acts. Also close-lipped kissing between two awkward British people (TWIST: Joel Edgerton is actually Australian) was out of fashion this season. Charlie and Lauren, bringing it back.

Here’s the scene in action if you prefer:

Kinky Boots is now on Netflix Instant if you can’t afford Broadway tickets, have an aversion to Cyndi Lauper (this is true of NO ONE), and love GLAMOUR.

 

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Karishma

Karishma is a twenty-something living in New York City and is trying her hardest to live out every cliche about Millennials. This involves eating her feelings, drowning in debt and mocking infomercials. She likes sociology so much that she has two degrees in it, and is still warding off her parents' questions about a real career.

4 thoughts on “Movies I’m Weirdly Obsessed With: Kinky Boots”

  1. I will always be grateful for this film because 1) its awesome and 2) it introduced me to the brilliance that is Chiwetel Ejiofor, and 3) for adding this quote to mine and my BFF’s lexicon “All this way for my advice? I feel like Oprah.”

    1. I love Kinky Boots. It is a great movie that I hadn’t thought of in a couple of years. It came up as a recommended watch the other night after my wife and I rewatched The Birdcage. She had never heard of it, and I told her the premise and how wonderful it was and she just looked at me like I was a bit crazy.

      After reading this post, I am more convinced than ever that I must convince her to watch it with me (also, I’m slightly selfish because I would like to watch it again. Though I will watch it without her if she says she isn’t interested).

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