Movie Details

Harvey Fierstein's Pulitzer Prize-winning Broadway hit was adapted for the screen by Fierstein himself. The playwright also repeats his stage role of female impersonator Arnold Beckoff, aka nightclub entertainer "Virginia Hamm." The three-part plotline, whittled down to accommodate the film's 117-minute running time, concerns Arnold's seriocomic efforts to find a lasting relationship. We first meet Arnold in 1971, when his heart is broken by his bisexual lover, Ed (Brian Kerwin). Next we find Arnold in 1973, enjoying short-lived happiness with his true love, Alan (Matthew Broderick). The final act takes place in 1980: Arnold, still grieving over Alan's sudden death and struggling to raise the young boy that the couple had adopted, has a long-anticipated showdown with his uncompromising mother, superbly played by Anne Bancroft. A witty film that is by turns touching and outrageous, Torch Song Trilogy works well despite its somewhat soft-pedaled approach to the material. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi