'Tucked' Film Review | BFI Flare Festival 2019
Tucked, along with the drag queens it depicts, exists as an anomaly in the wider drag landscape. Drag recently hit the mainstream thanks to the popularity of RuPaul's Drag Race, but that show prioritizes a very specific type of drag. Because of this, 'drag' as pop culture seemingly focuses on uplifting skinny, white performers while disregarding their equally talented counterparts. It's about time, then, that both old and black queens got the chance to step into the spotlight; Tucked offers this opportunity to both. The story follows Jackie, a 70 year old, straight drag queen who maintains a rigorous performing schedule in light of her diagnosis with terminal cancer. Helping her process the news (and with ticking off her bucket list) is Faith, a gender-fluid 21 year old that ends up looking to Jackie as a father figure in light of their own family's queer-phobia. Granted, Tucked sounds rough to watch, but director Jamie Patterson infuses the dark story with moments of such delightful comedy that it's impossible not to enjoy the ride. The line between drama and comedy is infamously hard to walk though; the tone of the film is uneven at times and switches from light-hearted to gut-wrenching in a way that isn't completely smooth. The result of this is a film which, despite curating genuine emotion within its audience, fails to form a cohesive tone. One other issue I had with the film - although this one minor - regards the films soundtrack. The soundtrack itself (written by Sam Beveridge) was stunningly produced and added both emotion and depth to the film as a whole. The problem lies with its implementation which wasn't at all subtle and the movie did at times feel more like an emotive music video than a feature film.
Despite these two complaints, Tucked has the potential to become a genuine cult classic within the queer community and it's overall message of self-reflection, defiance and resilience is legitimately needed - I mean, just last week the BBC's Question Time asked whether it's "moral" just to tell children queer people exist. Patterson actually acknowledges the current queer-phobia that dominates LGBTQ+ discourse at several moments within the film. Scenes like that can very easily feel forced or preachy but Tucked expertly integrated these messages of acceptance and warmth into the story as a whole. In short, the politics at play serve the characters as much as they do a wider social movement. Sure, Tucked sometimes feels a bit uneven, but the film overall allowed for a tender movie-going experience that proudly stands by its underrepresented protagonists. Its not a knee slapper, but it's mixture of comedy and melancholy would certainly make for a lovely rainy day viewing.
Written by James Green
Originally published at www.jg-review.blogspot.com