For a film named after an act of gender subversion, there’s not too much exploration of gender in Jamie Patterson’s odd-couple drama. ‘Tucked’ contorts itself to assure us that terminally ill, 80-something drag queen Jackie (Derren Nesbitt) is a straight man, which is disappointing in a movie ripe for a proper investigation of the lives of British queer people.
Jordan Stephens, of Rizzle Kicks fame, showcases his talent as the wonderful Faith, an up-and-coming non-binary queen who Jackie meets at work in Brighton. The older queen takes the young Faith into his home, after learning of their homelessness, and the two form a touching bond. Stephens’s knack for comedy gently lightens the tone of the film and offers a refreshing counterpoint to Jackie’s dirty humour, particularly in one scene in which Faith entertainingly butchers a Nigel Slater recipe.
But I couldn’t help think that a more ambitious film would have gone to greater lengths to tell Faith’s story as well as Jackie’s. It’s a notable weakness in a film in which women are sidelined. With only months left to live, Jackie must face up to past regrets involving his late wife and estranged daughter. However, these characters only exist in relation to his story. For a film whose title suggests a theme about gender, the lack of female characterisation in contrast to Jackie is a letdown. It’s a squandered opportunity to speak to a wider audience.