Swan Song

An aging hairdresser escapes his nursing home to embark on an odyssey across his small town to style a dead woman's hair for her funeral, rediscovering his sparkle along the way.


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at 14:51 pm

I couldn't quite decide here whether the superb Udo Kier reminded me more of Curt Jürgens or Terence Stamp. He manages to bring shades of both to his own poignantly entertaining depiction of "Mr. Pat". Now living in a rest home, following a stroke, the retired hairdresser and bon viveur discovers that his erstwhile patron "Rita Parker Sloan" (Linda Evans) has died, and that she has bequeathed him $25,000 on the condition that he does her hair for the funeral. What now ensues is a gently paced, frequently amusing but highly personal, reminiscence as we discover that they did not part company on friendly terms many years earlier. We learn that this man was once an hugely successful, flamboyant queen with a long term boyfriend ("David") who succumbed to AIDS leaving his partner of 33 years homeless and penniless. Michael Urie - her grandson "Dustin" and on-form Jennifer Coolidge ("Dee Dee Dale") and Ira Hawkins as his old cruising buddie "Eunice" all break up the intensity of the lead performance nicely from time time, allowing us to take a breather from his often downbeat, but sometimes uplifting life story. There are times when Todd Stephens steers a little too close to melodrama, but there is an integrity in Kier's performance here that is both touching and entertaining. At almost eighty years old, it is fun to see "Crystal Carrington" on screen again - and using some choice language too! The finale is entirely fitting for this character who lived his life his way, and although that life was not always a bed of roses, the conclusion has a vindication to it that made me smile.