Sundance film review: ‘Kinky Boots’

In a festival full of incredible films, what stands out about “Kinky Boots” is how simultaneously charming and sexy it is. A solid British comedy, “Kinky Boots” is about a high-end shoe factory on the fritz and its young boss (Joel Edgerton) who is inspired by a big and sassy cabaret singer named Lola, boldly played by Chiwetel Ejiofor (“Dirty Pretty Things.”)

Charlie Price, of Northampton, is not his father, but cannot stand to be the last Price at the helm of Price Shoes. After laying off a good part of his work force, he is accidentally knocked out while trying to defend what seems to be a woman, Lola, from some street toughs. As Lola and Charlie-from-Northampton unite, those around them worry that they’ve gone mad, and they begin to doubt themselves too. Together they have to develop a radical new design of shoes for a Milan fashion show. Can they make shoes that are both sexy and stable?

The movie is about shoes, but more importantly celebrates craftsmanship. There is respectability in a well-made, durable and attractive product, even if it is designed for a less-than-prominent demographic (i.e. transvestites).

The film has lovely touches of traditional British cinema – classic images, like the factory sign creaking in the wind and Charlie’s face lit up by the sexy glow of inspiration. It’s a very modern take on an old tale where dedication and good work are essential, with classic music that will require solid dancing shoes for enthusiastic toe-tapping.

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