Swan Song is a gem of a film. It is a look at nostalgia, friendship and love.
Pat, is an ageing, gay, hairdresser who now resides in an old people’s home after his long term love died without a will. He receives a visit from the lawyer of his most famous and recently deceased client. The request is for Pat to come out of retirement to do her hair as she will be in an open casket.
Swan Song also manages to shine a light on the impact someone can have on the lives of others without even realising it. That cliche, always be kind, is put to the test in the film. Even at its most cliched, the gay club scene, manages to do it without melodrama but the emotion and poignancy are real. This film owes its success to the charm and magnetism of Udo Kier who embodies the character of Pat so well, that it’s hard to tell where the character ends and the actor begins. Every scene is a delight. So too, is seeing Jennifer Coolidge as Dee Dee Dale, who began as Pat’s assistant and then ran off with his best clients. In this film, Coolidge gets to act and show a range of emotions rather than her usual typecasting. It is a joy.
Swan Song is written and directed by Todd Stephens. He has given us a delightful film once it gets going. There are parts at the beginning that should have been left on the editing floor. It’s understandable that he wanted to cram as much Udo onto the screen as possible but less is more. What his script does do well is leave the space for the actors to act and there’s a scene in the old people’s home which is just so poignant and touching.
Swan Song shows you how to out with a bang and stay true to yourself. It’s also a love letter of thanks to gay men who paved the way for those who have the opportunities they could only dream of.
Swan Song is released in cinemas from 10 June.
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