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‘Dancing Queens’ Movie Review: Musical Drama That Goes Nowhere

A young woman (Molly Nutley) from a small town has big dancing ambitions and disguises herself as a man to perform in a not very successful drag club

Ritika Kispotta - Thu, 03 Jun 2021 17:31:55 +0100 470 Views
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In Dancing Queens young woman Dylan misses the dancing she used to do when she was the head of a dance school. One day, when she walks into a club where drag performances are done, her urge to be on stage comes alive again. Helena Bergstrom directs this dancing film; she is also the scriptwriter along with Denize Karabuda. The film is produced by Joana Sorobetea at Sweetwater Productions with Colin Nutley and also Mikael Bergkvist as the executive producer. The story of this film revolves around Dylan Pettersson (Molly Nutley), a 23-year-old girl who belongs to a tiny island in the Bohuslan Archipelago, having big dancing desires. The girl has talked about the cleaning at the struggling drag club queens; at that moment, the club’s star dancer and choreographer (Fredrik Quinones) accidentally found out the hidden talent of Dylan. She desperately wants to be a part of the show, but she’s a girl – and it’s a drag show. However, where there’s a will, there is a way.

Dancing Queen is the rare program that centers a gay, androgynous protagonist instead of sidelining him to a “Fairy Godmother” stock character. This wise and nurturing trope usually imparts humility or guides a straight character through a crisis — think Queer Eye, Dallas Buyers Club, etc. Johnson is a mentor to his girls, but the Ainsley's and Kianas of the world will never be able to upstage him onscreen. Keep the mewling to a minimum and let the sovereign reign.

From this hokey premise — built from equal parts “Flashdance,” “Burlesque” and “Yentl,” minus their collective camp value — “Dancing Queens” goes nowhere especially surprising, and at nearly two hours, takes its sweet time in doing so. Separate from her gradually fulfilled terpsichorean ambitions, and despite Nutley’s unforced charm, Dylan remains a bit of an empty vessel: Save for her strictly platonic friendship with Victor, there’s little in the way of a personal arc to supplement her predictable career progress.

There’s an interesting film to be made about women cracking the drag scene, shuffling through complex layers of gender identity and identification, but this innocuous feel-good trifle hasn’t exactly found it. When, left alone in the club one night, our heroine busts out some spontaneous moves to Gloria Gaynor’s immortal “I Will Survive,” we don’t feel the appropriate euphoria: Where the greatest drag queens genuinely make you believe they are lipsyncing for their lives, Dylan’s survival has never seemed in doubt.

Final Score – [4.3/10]
Reviewed by – Ritika Kispotta
Follow her @KispottaRitika on Twitter (https://twitter.com/KispottaRitika)

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