HOME |  CULT MOVIES | COMPETITIONS | ADVERTISE |  CONTACT US |  ABOUT US
 
 
Newest Reviews
Day Shall Come, The
Scandal
Buzzard
Race for Your Life, Charlie Brown
Shaun the Sheep Movie: Farmageddon, A
Sons of Denmark
Light of My Life
Umbrellas of Cherbourg, The
Jerky Boys, The
Chambre en Ville, Une
Joker
Relaxer
Mustang, The
Baie des Anges, La
Ready or Not
Seven Days in May
Bliss
Hollywood Shuffle
Uncut Gems
Wilt
Daniel Isn't Real
Presidio, The
Curvature
Puzzle
Farewell, The
Challenge of the Tiger
Ad Astra
Winslow Boy, The
Pain and Glory
Judgment at Nuremberg
Rambo: Last Blood
Sansho the Bailiff
Iron Fury
Ride in the Whirlwind
Deathstalker II
Cloak and Dagger
Honeyland
Love Ban, The
Western Stars
League of Gentlemen, The
   
 
Newest Articles
Demy-Wave: The Essential Jacques Demy on Blu-ray
The Makings of a Winner: Play It Cool! on Blu-ray
Sony Channel's Before They Were Famous: A Galaxy of Stars
Start Worrying and Hate the Bomb: Fail-Safe on Blu-ray
Completely Different: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 2 on Blu-ray
Bash Street Kid: Cosh Boy on Blu-ray
Seeing is Believing: Being There on Blu-ray
Top Thirty Best (and Ten Worst) Films of the 2010s by Andrew Pragasam
Top of the Tens: The Best Films of the Decade by Graeme Clark
Terrorvision: A Ghost Story for Christmas in the 1970s
Memories Are Made of This: La Jetee and Sans Soleil on Blu-ray
Step Back in Time: The Amazing Mr. Blunden on Blu-ray
Crazy Cats and Kittens: What's New Pussycat on Blu-ray
No Place Like Home Guard: Dad's Army - The Lost Episodes on Blu-ray
A Real-Life Pixie: A Tribute to Michael J. Pollard in Four Roles
We're All In This Together: The Halfway House on Blu-ray
Please Yourselves: Frankie Howerd and The House in Nightmare Park on Blu-ray
Cleesed Off: Clockwise on Blu-ray
Sorry I Missed You: Les Demoiselles de Rochefort on Blu-ray
Silliest of the Silly: Monty Python's Flying Circus Series 1 on Blu-ray
Protest Songs: Hair on Blu-ray
Peak 80s Schwarzenegger: The Running Man and Red Heat
Rock On: That'll Be the Day and Stardust on Blu-ray
Growing Up in Public: 7-63 Up on Blu-ray
Learn Your Craft: Legend of the Witches and Secret Rites on Blu-ray
   
 
  Polyester Suffer In The SuburbsBuy this film here.
Year: 1981
Director: John Waters
Stars: Divine, Tab Hunter, Edith Massey, David Samson, Mary Garlington, Ken King, Mink Stole, Joni Ruth White, Hans Kramm, Stiv Bators, Rick Breitenfeld, Michael Watson, Derek Neal, Jean Hill, Jim Hill, John Brothers, Mary Vivian Pearce, Sharon Niesp, Susan Lowe
Genre: Comedy, Trash
Rating:  7 (from 1 vote)
Review: All Francine Fishpaw (Divine) wants is a happy family around her, but her actual family are constantly letting her down, much to her humiliation. Take her husband, Elmer (David Samson), who owns a porno theatre that the locals are vehemently against: today there is a picket outside the Fishpaw home that Francine is mortified about, yet her spouse is delighted by as this means more publicity. He's just upset that the television news crew hasn't arrived yet, so he telephones them, providing more stress for his wife, as if she didn't have enough to worry about with a daughter, Lulu (Mary Garlington) hanging with the wrong crowd and a son, Dexter (Ken King), a foot-fetishising pervert...

The general reaction to writer and director John Waters' Polyester among the critics seemed to have been, hey, he's sold out, this is no way as outrageous as his previous work. And it's true that there was hardly any strong language or imagery that would make polite society want to vomit into their handbags, but those accusers were missing the point in that Waters was moving on, and paying tribute to the Douglas Sirk movies he was so enamoured of. Although the details were admittedly very different from the likes of All That Heaven Allows, Francine could very well have been a Sirk heroine judging by the amount of heartache she suffers.

Waters certainly shovels on the troubles for Francine, recognising that the female protagonists of nineteen-fifties soap opera movies had to suffer before they had their final happiness. The difference here is that we are meant to laugh at the trials and tribulations, although crucially while we do we never feel as if we're looking down on Francine, merely enjoying the ridiculous situations and square-baiting comedy as she heads towards alcoholism. Indeed, take out the humour and Polyester could very well have been played straight: a remake by Todd Haynes that upped the angst and dismissed the laughs might be a decent sequel to Far from Heaven.

But this is funny, sometimes hilariously so, with as ever a host of quotable lines - "What if Mary and Joseph had an abortion?!" screams one pro-lifer in an example of Waters taking the moralist's high ground to absurd extremes to show them up. The main characters get quite some volume of snappy dialogue too, from Divine's wailing through Francine's experiences to her best friend Cuddles and Edith Massey's inimitable delivery, everyone relishes their roles and if there's nothing here to match the sustained offensiveness of Pink Flamingos it is a lot more amusing rather than deliberately disgusting as his earlier work had been.

But there is one aspect to Polyester that places it on a par with those films, and that's the William Castle-style gimmick of Odorama. Audiences were handed out scratch and sniff cards to use whenever the appropriate number appeared onscreen, which offered them the chance to appreciate the scent of a rose - or sniff glue along with the punks. I don't need to tell you what Number 2 was. To tie this in with the plot, Francine has a highly developed sense of smell, an idea sustained throughout with ingenuity and wit, also making her a kind of detective figure as she tracks down her adulterous husband. Once she has split up with him, and he has tormented his overweight wife by ordering boxes and boxes of pizza, she is free to be romanced by Todd Tomorrow, played by a game Tab Hunter (he even snogs Divine), but used far too sparingly. She is allowed to win the day, but not after she tackles the gap between standards of suburban decency and the all-too-human failings around her, making her one of Waters' most sympathetic leads. Music by Chris Stein (of Blondie) and Michael Kamen.
Reviewer: Graeme Clark

 

This review has been viewed 2238 time(s).

As a member you could Rate this film

 

John Waters  (1946 - )

Witty American writer/director, the chief proponent of deliberate bad taste in American films. His early efforts are little more than glorified home movies, including Mondo Trasho and Multiple Maniacs, but with the notorious Pink Flamingos Waters found his cult audience.

Female Trouble and Desperate Living continued in the same vein, while Polyester showed a mellowing of Waters' style. Hairspray was an unexpected hit, followed by Cry-Baby, Serial Mom, Pecker, Cecil B. Demented and A Dirty Shame. Waters often casts the same actors, but Divine was his true superstar.

 
Review Comments (0)


Untitled 1

Login
  Username:
 
  Password:
 
   
 
Forgotten your details? Enter email address in Username box and click Reminder. Your details will be emailed to you.
   

Latest Poll
Which star is the best at shouting?
Arnold Schwarzenegger
Brian Blessed
Tiffany Haddish
Steve Carell
Olivia Colman
Captain Caveman
Sylvester Stallone
Gerard Butler
Samuel L. Jackson
Bipasha Basu
   
 
   

Recent Visitors
Graeme Clark
  Butch Elliot
Andrew Pragasam
Darren Jones
  Rachel Franke
Enoch Sneed
Paul Smith
Paul Shrimpton
   

 

Last Updated: