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Friday
Apr142017

Female Trouble (1974)

As a kid, I associated John Waters with his mainstream-accessible fare, like Hairspray and Cry-baby, thinking he'd really stepped out on some kind of ledge with Pecker (I'd only known Pink Flamingos from pop culture). This week, I discovered Female Trouble, in which Divine stars as Dawn Davenport, a rebellious high schooler who attacks her family on Christmas for giving her the wrong kind of shoes; has rough sex with a guy she meets on the road (the actor plays both parts); and home-delivers her daughter on a filthy couch. And that's just the first fifteen minutes. Waters and Divine hold up a tobacco-spit-polished mirror to America's penchant for masking societal problems with glamour, a theme raucously and skin-crawlingly underscored by a less-than-nothing budget and broad, stage-y performances. Even more troubling is the fact that Dawn's disproportionate self-image and murderous quest for fame don't feel out of place in 2017.

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