- Director: Phil Connell
- Writer: Phil Connell
- Producer: Phil Connell; Katie Corbridge
Darling...here's a film that will always be neck-deep in sadness, being Cloris Leachman's final film.
Frail, she most certainly is...and, still, sharp as a tack. Drag and dementia, not the usual bed buddies...but, here, hand-in-hand companions. At times, more bitter than sweet...and, on the odd occasion, more sweet than bitter.
Estranged grandson returns...out of [self-imposed] necessity...to steal...from his vulnerable and ailing grandma - he's the perfect, self-centred anti-hero...in drag! And...a rather damn fine performance from Thomas Duplessie it is too! Like, loathe, love...he conjures up all these emotions...while - resiliently - endearing himself.
It is a heady mix of hedonism and humanity...with generational clashes taking centre stage. A difficult balance indeed..and, Phil Connell does a decent job maintaining it. There are a couple of questionable moments...but, they are forgivable. As good as it is, the d-i-y drag sequence in the closed bar is a bit of an incongruity. The subplot with the closeted bisexual - quite possibly - a bit of an unnecessity. Let's not mention the scene[s] with the owner of Peckers! Rather weird and totally spurious. Thankfully, these 'faux pas' fail to contaminate this film as a whole. They are just mere aberrations...
Because...there's Cloris. She steals the show...with her grit and resolve. Sentimentality would have killed this film stone dead...simply because, both leads possess very little in that department - their lives have been/are being led for themselves - it's a powerful statement. There are regrets and there are apologies...and, they are all just too, too late.
With equal amounts of light and shade...Jump, Darling leaves much unsaid...the beauty of the film is that, by the end, everything has been said...without the stress of saying it, by way of a look or a touch. Ultimately, this is about end-of-life and self-discovery...the two [issues and characters] are closer than you think!
A gem of a film.
Russell is at a crossroads in life. Approaching 30 and wondering if his big plans to become a serious actor will ever come true, he looks for performance kicks as a drag queen. The drag causes friction with his strait-laced businessman boyfriend, so he takes off for a bit of space at his grandma Margaret’s house. Rather than the convenient crash pad he had in mind, his usually quick-witted gran is at her own crossroads, becoming more forgetful than she’d like to admit. As family secrets emerge, he is forced to find his feet, but will he land in stilettos or something more sober? Overflowing with warmth and wit, Jump, Darling is the perfect swansong for long-time LGBTIQ+ ally Leachman, that will further cement her iconic status for many a drag queen to come.
Zorian Clayton, Programmer