The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert
What parents need to know
Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this funny drama about Australian drag queens contains tons of profanity and sexual innuendo. The cursing never stops, though it's not generally hostile, and includes everything you could imagine (from "f--k" to homophobic slurs). There is no sex or nudity, but plenty of crass and explicit talk about genitals, sex (both homo- and heterosexual), and some provocative dancing and clothing. The characters encounter homophobia, and the film includes one scene of intense threatening and moderate violence.
What's the story?
When drag queen Tick (Hugo Weaving) gets a call to perform in a small town, he collects two friends -- another drag queen (Guy Pearce) and a transsexual named Bernadette (Terence Stamp) -- to go along for the ride. They cross the Outback of Australia in a beat-up RV. Their outrageous clothing and behavior attracts plenty of attention -- both good and bad -- and they end up making a few friends and enemies along the way. When the RV breaks down, they meet a mechanic named Bob (Bill Hunter), who ends up riding along with them and getting close to Bernadette. Along the way, the friends learn that Tick plans to meet his secret wife at the destination, and after the arrival, everyone's in for a big surprise.
Is it any good?
This tender, sympathetic film includes some incredible acting, quirky characters, and gorgeous costumes (for which it won an Oscar). Terence Stamp portrays the transsexual Bernadette with strength and humanity, creating a film that goes deeper than the crinoline, makeup, and colorful musical numbers. Stamp and his costars ultimately tell a tale of acceptance -- of difference, of others, and of oneself. Some of the dialogue is particularly snippy and mean in a rather clichéd interpretation of gay male discourse, but the strengths of the film outweigh its weaknesses.
Explore, discuss, enjoy
Families can talk about the main character's feelings about himself. Why do you think he was so anxious about going to Alice Springs? How did he change after he arrived? What lessons did others teach him about himself?
Talk about the trio's relationships with each other. Why do you think they were so mean to each other? How did that change over time?
Do you think this portrayal of homosexuals is positive or negative? Does it promote understanding or stereotypes (or both)?