The Reel Review


After her estranged gay son dies of a drug overdose in San Francisco, his mother, the choir director at a conservative church in rural Texas, visits and discovers that he owned a drag bar which she has inherited and must save from financial ruin. Jacki Weaver, Lucy Liu and Adrian Grenier star in this dramedy musical.

Jacki Weaver and Adrian Grenier in Stage Mother

Jacki Weaver injects so much likability into her character Maybelline Metcalf that it makes this otherwise slight film a pleasant crowd pleaser. In fact, Maybelline is so nice it’s hard to imagine her ever having rejected her son for being gay. A blonde Lucy Liu appears as Sienna, a single mother struggling to raise her son, named Ricky after Maybelline’s departed son, with Adrian Grenier (The Devil Wears Prada) as Ricky’s boyfriend and club manager.

Allister MacDonald, Jackie Beat and Oscar Moreno in Stage Mother

Working from a well-intended screenplay from Brad Hennig, director Thom Fitzgerald (Forgive Me, Cloudburst) crams a lot of social issues into the hour and a half runtime, with some, such as Maybelline’s attempt to help one of her drag performers kick his drug habit, landing more strongly than others. But the feel-good, redemptive tale, about never being too old to find your bliss, is a sweet one.


• Jacki Weaver has received two Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominations – for her role as the matriarch of a criminal family in 2010’s Animal Kingdom and as the mother of Bradley Cooper’s character in the 2012 romantic comedy, Silver Linings Playbook. 

• Jackie Beat, who plays drag queen Dusty Muffin in Stage Mother, has also appeared in 1995’s Wigstock: The Movie, 1999’s Flawless and 2005’s Adam & Steve. 

• Although set in San Francisco, Stage Mother was filmed in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


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