I Am Divine

Film, Documentaries
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • 3 out of 5 stars
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I Am Divine

Putting aside that whole shit-eating thing in the 1972 film ‘Pink Flamingos’, the antics of the man born Harris Glenn Milstead – better known to filmgoers as gender-bending superstar Divine – are tame by today’s standards. For the uninitiated, Jeffrey Schwarz’s docuportrait is a good primer on how this cinematic rebel helped make the world a safer place for outsiders. Through vintage clips and interviews, ‘I Am Divine’ shows how the future John Waters muse transformed from an isolated, weird kid into an over-the-top, proudly freakish star who influenced everything from the aesthetics of first-wave punk to the performance style of today’s drag queens. If the film whitewashes the career plateau leading up to the star’s untimely death at age 42 (reverential testimonials and grin-filled photos feel too tidy for a life defined by messiness), Schwarz has still crafted a striking tribute to the pioneering spirit, radical queerness and sheer divinity of Divine.

By: Ethan LaCroix

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Release details

Rated: 15
Release date: Friday July 18 2014
Duration: 90 mins

Cast and crew

Director: Jeffrey Schwarz

Average User Rating

3 / 5

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I enjoyed watching this documentary, and yes it did seem to hardly cast a critical eye to Divine's career, but I guess this was an opportunity to celebrate the man and the persona, rather than give an unflinching account of their lives. I loved John Waters's comments and humour - he also deserves his own documentary!