‘It’s what he would have wanted!’ is something often said. So when the singer-songwriter Glenn Frey died back in 2016 at his funeral a number of his songs were played notably his hit song from ‘Beverly Hills Cop’ but we’re not sure that as he was cremated to the tune of ‘The Heat is On’, it’s what he would have wanted (‘You’re fired!’ – Ed). So at the start of Stage Mother when the funeral of a gay drag artist has a song and dance routine play out in his funeral service it’s little wonder that his mother walks out. In fairness some of the drag artists are about as convincing as a woman as Boris Johnson proclaiming fidelity to his wife at the moment he employs a new nanny.
Maybelline Metcalf (Jacki Weaver) is a conservative church choir director living in her Texas home town with her even more conservative husband when the news comes through that their son has died of a drug overdose whilst performing at a San Francisco drag club. Her husband has rejected him never having been able to accept that his son is gay whist Maybelline has been far more accepting but has gone along with her husband in keeping their distance from him.
But it all changes when he dies, unable to keep away she travels to the city whilst her husband refuses to attend the funeral. It’s here that she encounters his drag queen friends as well as her son’s boyfriend who resents her thinking that she’s only turned up to lay claim to his estate which in this case is the drag club. Her sweet natured southern charm contrasts sharply with the waspish acid tongued queens eventually wins them over. The drag queens are not the only one to befriend her because it’s Sienna (Lucy Liu) a single mother with baby who allows her stay in her flat and soon find that there’s an iron fist under her velvet glove that saves Sienna from a sexually psychotic ex-partner.
It’s an endearing performance from Jacki Weaver caught between the guilt that she was never there for her son when he really needed her but also not wanting to upset her husband who has never accepted his son’s sexuality. But with her husband in another stubbornly staying at home she becomes a stage mother to the drag queens each with their own issues and becomes the mother to them that she was unable to be for her own son. Taking ownership of her son’s ailing club she turns it around in a manner that’s never really made clear or convincingly. But at its heart this is really a feelgood human drama about acceptance of those on the fringe of society and as she tells the mother of one the acts, ‘ they’re not hurting anyone’.
Here’s the Stage Mother trailer…….
STAGE MOTHER IS RELEASED ON DVD & DIGITAL DOWNLOAD ON 16TH NOV 2020