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The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert (1994)

Two drag queens and their trans friend find family in this iconic queer road trip drama

7.8

Movie

Australia, United States of America
English
Comedy, Drama
1994
STEPHAN ELLIOTT
Bill Hunter, Guy Pearce, Hugo Weaving
104 min

TLDR

Oh, I wish for more LGBT films as joyous as this.

What it's about

After her loss of her lover, trans woman Bernadette is invited by drag queens Tick and Adam to travel across the desert to take their act on the road, leading to exciting adventures, some hardships, and an unexpected reveal.

The take

Cheerfully outrageous yet heartwarmingly tender, the Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert was ahead of its time, daring to dive into drag and transexuality, when the rest of the world was still coming around to accepting homosexuality. On the bus which the title is named after, two drag queens and a trans woman have a road trip, that does have some difficult moments, when they drive through intolerant towns, but overall, becomes quite lovely, as the three forge a bond through drag, witty, sarcastic quips and sharing vulnerable moments. While all three leads are portrayed by cis men, and the role of Bob’s Filipino wife feels slightly stereotypical, overall, The Adventures of Priscilla is a grand ol’ time, a joyful film about finding family in a world where tolerance wasn’t a guarantee.

What stands out

The only thing that mars the legacy of this film is the way Bob’s Filipino wife was written. While producer Al Clark argued that she was a misfit just like the three leads, Cynthia just didn’t have much screen time to carve out nuance, but it’s all the more disappointing that they decided to use the time to portray her as a scheming, vulgar woman just for backstory for one of the people they meet on the road.

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