27 September 2023

Swan Song

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Reviewed by Rama Gaind.

Writer/director: Todd Stephens, Icon Film Distribution.

German-born actor Udo Kier (Armageddon, Barb Wire, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective) excels in his starring role as retired hairdresser Pat Pitsenbarger, who escapes the confines of his small-town Sandusky, Ohio nursing home after learning of his former client’s dying wish for him to style her final hairdo.

Pat then starts on a journey in which he tackles the ghosts of his past – as he sets out to collect beauty supplies needed for the job. Along the way, entwined into the storyline, are catch-ups with former employees, well-remembered customers and reminiscing over the drag club that he built the foundation for. It all concludes in a beautiful union with the deceased’s son, Dustin (Michael Urie, Ugly Betty), who further reminds Pat of the personal impact he had on his family’s life. Meeting up with former friend Dee Dee Dale (Jennifer Coolidge, American Pie and Legally Blonde film series) adds some enjoyable moments.

Slow at the start, Swan Song is a comical and bittersweet journey about rediscovering one’s vivacity, and looking dazzling while doing so.

According to director Todd Stephens (Another Gay Movie, Gypsy 83), Swan Song is a love letter to the rapidly disappearing “gay culture” of America.

“Swan Song is a return to the more serious side of my Gemini self. After the wacky world of Another Gay Movie, I wanted to go back to my roots and finish what I think of as my ‘Ohio Trilogy’ (started by Edge of Seventeen, then Gypsy 83). Honestly though, it took me years to find the courage to reveal the more personal/autobiographical side of myself again. But after many false starts and several amazing therapists, I finally got up the nerve to reopen my heart. In many ways, the character of Pat is me, telling myself it’s not too late to do what I love.”

  • Swan Song is released on Digital

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