Director - Trudie Styler
Starring - Alex Lawther, Abigail Breslin, Bette Midler.
Billy Bloom an out and proud homosexual is forced to live with his distant father in the heart of a red state after his mother checks into rehab. Billy finds his fabulous dress sense, colourful spirit and gay pride is clashing with the jocks and bible carrying bitches that appear to fill the high school. After an act of violence puts Billy into a coma for a week, he decides to rebel against the oppression he's faced and to run for homecoming queen.
Alex Lawther as Billy Bloom is the brightest and most engaging character so far at the Edinburgh Film Festival, embodying a fearless self-titled "trans-visionary gender obliviator." Lawther will be familiar to British audiences from Black Mirror and portraying another young gay character as Alan Turing in The Intimidation Game. Lawther despite the bold costumes and monologues always portrays a subtle vulnerability that runs through every challenge he faces to either stand out or fit in. Lawther and Bloom just isn't a string of cliches and fabulous remarks delivered wonderfully, it's a brilliant duel portrayal of Bloom the showman and Bloom the insecure and struggling teenager.
Freak Show's production clearly landed in the height of Trump-mania in 2016 with the bullies homophobic, bigoted, self-obsessed and shameless remarks echoing that of the campaign trail, as they use the Bible and state "traditions" to stamp on Bloom's parade. As Abigail Breslin's Southern wanna debutant, Lynnette, remarks, men shouldn't be able to run for Homecoming Queen and with ease trashing homosexuals with the type of pathetic slurs that greeted the transgender toilet use debate in America, as she kisses her cross and says she wants "to make America great again." If Lynette wants to Make America Great Again, then Bloom wants to Make America Fabulous again.
Freak Show is a movie that will find it's audience among the young adults that love and endlessly quote Clueless and Mean Girls and the film is aimed at them, much like the original book. In Trump's America when the religious right has targeted homosexuals physically and with policy, many of the LGBT community feel scared and vulnerable and they will find an ally in Billy Bloom. Straight or homosexual, people will leave this movie feeling impassioned and hopeful that defiance will win the day eventually, maybe not today but change cannot be stopped.
FREAK SHOW will be screening at the Edinburgh International Film Festival on Monday 26th and Tuesday 27th,
Lee Hutchison - @lee_nostromo