Kinky Boots

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The finished boots

Charlie ponders the future

Lola and Charlie share a cuppa

lola dancign with Lauren

Charlie on the catwalk

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tim Firth Films title graphic

 

 

Kinky Boots

Buena Vista Films
Directed by Julian Jarrold
Written by Tim Firth and Geoff Deane
Produced by Nick Barton, Suzanne Mackie and Peter Ettedgui
Co-Produced by Mairi Bett
Production Designer Alan MacDonald

Best International Feature - Bermuda Film Festival (2006)

Best International Feature - Florida Film Festival (2006)
Special Premiere Screening - Sundance Film Festival (2006)
Golden Globe Nomination - Best Actor

The film was inspired by the true story of a traditional English men's footwear factory in Northamptonshire which turned to production of kinky boots for transvestites in order to save the ailing family business and safeguard the jobs of the local community.

 

"Hilarious"

DAILY MIRROR

“One of the most enjoyable British films
of the year”

THE MAIL ON SUNDAY

“Heart-warming... terrific performances”
THE SUNDAY TIMES

“A towering performance from Chitwell Ejiofor”
THE INDEPENDENT

 

 

The Story

With the sudden death of his father, Charlie Price takes up the reins of the family's traditional, Northampton shoe business - Price and Sons. But Charlie quickly discovers it is not business as usual and without new orders, bankruptcy looms. As a sceptical workforce debate their novice manager, Charlie looks to London for solutions, and in a chance encounter, discovers sassy cabaret star, Lola, whose Soho world of outrageous fashion and stylish, erotic boots for men, opens his eyes to an intriguing niche market, a long way from men's classic brogues.

With trepidation, but spurred on by feisty, factory worker Lauren, Charlie enlists Lola's help to diversify and make erotic women's boots for a male market. But Lola's arrival at the provincial factory is greeted with ridicule and animosity, not least by Nicola. The hapless but lovable Charlie ploughs ahead with Lola, who hiding her own insecurities, takes charge of design and employs some of her show-stopping bravado to help win over the fractured workforce and bring the boots to life.

With only weeks to go until the crucial Milan Shoe Fair, the factory is in full swing with leopard skins and PVC replacing the bronzed suedes and shiny leather, but it is now Charlie's drive for perfection and success which threatens the production line and Milan. Finally the pressure gets to Charlie and he turns on Lola, loosing his biggest asset and ally on the eve of the Milan Shoe Fair.

 

 

The Cast
Linda Bassett - Mel
Josh Cole - Tramp
Gwenllian Davies - Mrs Cobb
Joel Edgerton - Charlie Price
Chiwetel Ejiofor - Lola
Nick Frost - Don
Joe Grossi - Milan Organiser
Ewan Hooper - George
Sarah-Jane Potts - Lauren
Jemima Rooper - Nicola
The reviews

A well-worn genre gets, ahem, 'souled and healed' in British comedy Kinky Boots. Demonstrating a timelessness that Ugg boots can only envy, it's another take on that 'little guy surviving against the odds in slightly quirky circumstances' theme so beloved of British comedies. It's underpinned by a showstopping performance by Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) as a transvestite who inspires a line in shoes, and is more uplifting than a nine-inch stiletto.

Transvestism in the movies is rarely a pretty sight (cast your mind back to Patrick Swayze in To Wong Foo..., if you dare), so full marks to Ejiofor for making the character of Simon/Lola so well-rounded and uncaricatured. His cross-dressing creation provides the inspiration for Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton from Ned Kelly), a damp squib whose plans to escape provincial Northampton life are dealt a body blow when his father dies and he's stuck with an ailing shoe factory. Faced with cut-price competition from the Third World, Charlie needs to find a niche or lay off most of his staff. Step forward Lola and 'her' size nines...

"ONE OF THE BEST PERFORMANCES OF THE YEAR"

It's no surprise to learn that Kinky Boots is from the same team who gave us Calendar Girls. Slick and impossible to dislike, it also presents a side of provincial British life rarely seen nowadays: that of the frustrated dreamer. Australian actor Edgerton does just enough to convince as a Midlander, but this is ultimately Ejiofor's parade. He takes you beneath Lola's sequins and delivers one of the best performances of the year. Don't miss it.

www.bbc.co.uk/film reviews

Is Chiwetel Ejiofor the best young British actor we've got? He's certainly right up there. Best known for his wrenching turn as a sad-eyed Nigerian immigrant in Dirty Pretty Things, Ejiofor is everywhere at the moment, even making it through last week's horrendous Four Brothers unscathed.

Ejiofor is definitely the headline act in the cosy new Britcom Kinky Boots, based on the true story of an ailing Northampton shoe factory which scrapped the brogues and started turning out thigh-length boots for female impersonators.

He's a scream, and also the film's heroically dignified centre, as cabaret drag artist Lola - the inspiration for this line of fetish-wear - who pitches up at Price and Sons after bumping into its befuddled new owner Charlie (Aussie actor Joel Edgerton) one night in Soho.

The reaction on the factory floor - from homophobically inclined Don (Nick Frost) in particular - provides plenty of scope for Full Monty-style ensemble squirming, and this certainly knocks the socks off Calendar Girls (which came from the same producing team). This time, the ripped-from-the-headlines story never seems to be clapping itself on the back too much.

And, as well as terrific opportunities for Ejiofor to cut loose ("Burgundy? I inspired something burgundy?"), there's some nice writing in the supporting roles, particularly for Charlie's scary power-dressing girlfriend Nicola (Jemima Rooper), who thinks he should sell up, and sweet elfin colleague Lauren (Sarah-Jane Potts).

There are big tunes and great costumes, and I think people will have a very good time at Kinky Boots, but it's a pity it doesn't push its plea for moving with the times just an inch further.

Lola has to settle for those boots rather than any kind of love interest. Or does she fancy Charlie? Julian Jarrold's genial but timid film seems faintly afraid to ask.

THE TELEGRAPH


Kinky Boots in the USA
"Kinky Boots," a crowd-pleasing British import based on a true story, may be this year's "Full Monty." After a festival screening here, this perky, very English comedy with rousing musical numbers, about a struggling Northamptonshire shoe company and the drag queen that comes to its rescue, had the audience on its feet. If the film draws the audiences that flocked to "Full Monty," a confident directing debut by Julian Jarrold, it could rack up good numbers. After Dad dies, Charlie, played by pallid actor Joel Edgerton, takes over the failing family business Price Shoes. Sooner than you can say Gloria Gaynor, he meets Lola (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a transvestite with a keen business sense, a solid set of values and a larger than life presence -- think Naomi Campbell on steroids. After Charlie recruits Lola to advise at the factory, her presence, among manly men, raises questions of masculinity and femininity. Ejiofor steals every scene, as he vamps his way through brassy disco numbers in wigs and thigh-high, spike-heeled boots, the very boots that eventually put Kinky Boots on the runway in Milan. Anyone with a shoe fetish will surely experience a natural high. A multi-tasker, Lola helps salvage Charlie's love life and shed his years of inhibition -- almost -- while she's at it."You coming all this way to see me," she coos. "I feel like Oprah." Costume designer, Sammy Sheldon gets the trashy chic outfits for Lola and her dancers just right. Danish cinematographer, Eigil Bryld's palette of grays and sienna evoke the world of fantasy and this is, after all, a fairy tale.

Sura Wood

 

trivia

The arm-wrestling scene in KINKY BOOTS was the subject of a Pause For Thought religious slot on Radio 2's morning programme!

 

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more

aThe DVD is available and includes special features.

a

aAudio commentary from director Julian Jarrold with cast members Joel Edgerton, Chiwetel Ejiofor and Sarah-Jane Potts

aDeleted scenes with audio commentary from Julian Jarrold

a'The Real Kinky Boots Factory': an in-depth look at the making of the film and the true events which inspired it

a 'Journey Of A Brogue': a short video of the process of a shoe being made in the factory

 a KINKY BOOTS
Original Soundtrack
EMI CD3411952