Today I’ll be reviewing a delightful short film written by Amy Clarke and directed by Michael Beddoes. Sequins is the coming of age story about an aspiring drag queen making his transition from a timid, insecure school boy to the self assured, beautiful person he has only dreamed of becoming.
The 17 minute run time begins with a welcome into the protagonist’s bedroom, where we are introduced to Paul Bigsby (Robbie Gaskell) at his most curious and sincere. After a brief opening scene, we are hurdled into the boy’s life of pitiful pretence, starting with the awkward car journey to school, in which we feel the detached relationship between a boy and his father (Ben Willbond). The silence is drowned out by foreshadowing music, Female of The Species by Space. The narrative quickly unfolds and the audience sympathise further by the minute as the protagonist struggles with bullying and consequently, self consciousness.
It’s hard to tell when this film is meant to be set. My conclusion based on the technology and some of the mise en scene, is the early 2000’s but I could be wrong. Still, I’d like to think there are far less bullies today similar to that of Rick Hennessy (Marcus Geldard).
During a gracefully captured chase scene, the protagonist finds safety within Sequins, 'Blackpool' s Home of Drag'. From this point onwards we watch the protagonist grow in heaps and bounds with the help of his unorthodox mentor (James Dreyfus) and his enthusiastic best friend (Nicole Louise Lewis).
This coming of age story contains everything you could ask for from the genre; pace, excitement, risk and good humour sprinkled throughout. I thoroughly enjoyed the emotional adventure I was taken on by these actors who mastered their characters and dragged me into their world by the wig.
In under 20 minutes, the the protagonist thrives from a humble school boy to a a badass queen strutting down the school hallway. This scene is an absolute knockout. The edgy music and editing combined with the hilarious student reactions, and then of course the pure spectacle of Paul Bigsby in a dazzling red dress, makes this a moment to savour. The make up and costume design is beautiful, and Gaskell’s singing is bewitching. This scene also gives depth through reaction to characters who up until this point felt rather two-dimensional, such as the protagonist’s father, Alan Bigsby and his prime enemy, Rick Hennessey.
While watching this finale that freezes on Paul’s self assured smile, I thought to myself,
if you take pride in what makes you different, no one can shame you for it.
Thanks for reading,