Mitzi (Hugo Weaving) and Felicia (Guy Pearce) are two drag queens traveling with their friend, veteran performer and transgendered woman Bernadette (Terence Stamp) across the Australian desert to perform their drag revue at a resort. Along the way, Priscilla (the lavender bus they travel in) breaks down repeatedly and cause the three to meet up with bewildered locals, some who greet them with open arms and some… not so much.
There are so many things to love about Priscilla: its colorful, creative and outrageous costumes won Lizzy Gardiner and Tim Chappel a very well-deserved Oscar award. The soundtrack is heavenly, ranging from Abba to Gloria Gaynor (natch) to Lena Horne and is the perfect accompaniment to a story filled with a lot of heart, earnestness and fantastic bitchiness. What I especially love about Priscilla is how it takes three guys I would never expect to portray drag queens and not only make it work, but make it work exquisitely. Most people equate Hugo Weaving with Agent Smith from the Matrix films or whoever the hell he is in the Lord of the Rings films, but he is great, and probably carries the most baggage in the film. Guy Pearce is gorgeous and hilarious as the bitchy and annoying “up and comer” but in my opinion, it’s Terrence Stamp who steals the show.
First of all, the casting choice was brilliant – this is General Zod we’re talking about – and a couple of years after playing an incredibly convincing transgendered woman, he played a serious badass in The Limey. I loved all three main characters, but it was Stamp who cracked me up the most with either a derisive comment or priceless look.
I know that Priscilla isn’t a perfect film; there are some vaguely corny moments and truthfully, most of the film is an excuse to move from one performance piece to another. Plus, it contains my holy grail of pet peeves – a freeze frame ending. HOWEVER, there are probably only a couple of moments when I’m not grinning from ear to ear while watching the film (and those are mostly intentionally somber moments) and overall Priscilla is simply a tremendously entertaining film.