Drag Kids (NewFest 2019) Review: A Documentary Strutting With Tiny Joy Going Gaga

4.5

Summary

Drag Kids is a hilarious, heartwarming, and enjoyable documentary, involving tempers, tiaras, and tons of fun.

Laddy Gaga, Queen Lactacia, Suzan Bee Anthony, and Bracken Hanke. Those are the four stage names for the kids at the center of Megan Wennberg’s Canadian documentary Drag Kids

It’s a film focused on the aforementioned four little superstars, who are in elementary and middle school. We follow this stylish foursome as they get ready for performances, strut around the house, get up on stage individually, and then culminate in a group performance of Lady Gaga’s ‘Born This Way’ at the Montreal Pride Parade. 

The kids are charming, hilarious, and have enough sass and confidence to back up their aspirations. They’re chock-full of one-liners, quips that take down the patriarchy, religion, the 80s, homophobia, and general intolerance towards them. 

It’s a film that champions self-expression and champions the people that support it. The parents of each of the four drag queens are encouraging to the point of tears, showing care that can only be described as kind love. It’s impossible to keep a grin off your face unless you truly are offended by drag, Lady Gaga, or runways. 

It’s undeniable that these kids provide loads of joy in the world and the friendships that are created within the group make me smile even as this sentence is being written. They find others who like the same wigs as them, who love the same makeup, who listen to the same music, and who have the same goals and dreams. It’s a gorgeous sense of comfort, and Wennberg has to be credited with capturing that joy in real-time. 

The kids practice hard, and the choreography for their big dance looks quite hard actually. They’re nervous and the butterflies sure are fluttering. When they perform, it’s magical because of its flaws. Of course, it’s not perfect, but it sure is a ton of fun. I mean, they’re kids.

The film itself features beautiful, personal cinematography, eccentric and adorable subjects, and a pulsating soundtrack of songs that make your foot tap even in the theater. It’s an anomaly: a happy documentary. It’s one against hate and intolerance, preaching support, acceptance, and the significance of expression. 

Sometimes you don’t have to overthink it. Drag Kids is simply wonderful.


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Michael Frank

Based in Brooklyn, NY, Michael is a regular critic for Ready Steady Cut and also writes for Cinema Sentries, The Film Experience and Film Inquiry.

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