I Am Divine

Film Review by Lewis Porteous | 14 Jul 2014
  • Divine
Film title: I Am Divine
Director: Jeffrey Schwarz
Starring: John Waters, Divine, Ricki Lake, Tab Hunter, Mink Stole
Release date: 18 Jul
Certificate: 15

When Glenn Milstead died from a heart condition in 1988, he was just hours away from shooting his first episode of Married... with Children, the hit Fox sitcom on which he'd been offered a recurring role. After two decades spent eating dog shit for midnight movie audiences, chewing the scenery in queer theatre productions and touring an aggressive strain of gay disco around the world, the star was tired and in search of something approaching mainstream acceptance. It’s tragic that he fell just short of this dream, but admirers can console themselves with the knowledge that Divine left behind an undiluted body of work.

This documentary mostly looks back on its subject’s career as a notorious drag act, with consistently amusing input from the likes of John Waters, Tab Hunter and psychedelic theatre troupe The Cockettes. It’s the involvement of Milstead’s recently deceased mother that proves most illuminating, however, offering insight into his private battles and lending pathos to an otherwise profane story. [Lewis Porteous]