Female Trouble

Watch Female Trouble

"Nice girls don't wear cha-cha heels."
  • NC-17
  • 1975
  • 7.1  (10,315)

In the world of underground cinema, Female Trouble stands out as one of the most shocking and influential films of the 1970s. Directed by the notorious cult filmmaker John Waters and starring his frequent collaborator Divine, the movie is a darkly comic satire of American culture, gender roles, and beauty standards. The plot follows the life of Dawn Davenport (Divine), a teenage delinquent who dreams of becoming a famous model and actress, but who is constantly thwarted by her dysfunctional family, including her alcoholic mother (Edith Massey) and her lowlife boyfriend (David Lochary). After a series of bizarre and violent events, Dawn becomes a criminal icon known as the "Baltimore Beauty" and creates her own fashion label, but her success is tainted by betrayal, greed, and self-destruction.

What sets Female Trouble apart from other exploitation films of its time is its unique blend of transgressive humor, surreal imagery, and social commentary. Waters uses the character of Dawn as a vehicle for his subversive vision, challenging the conventional notions of femininity and beauty by portraying her as a grotesque and larger-than-life figure, whose exaggerated makeup, hair, and wardrobe are both hilarious and disturbing.

At the same time, the movie exposes the hypocrisy and cruelty of mainstream society, especially in its portrayal of the media, the justice system, and the beauty industry. Waters seems to enjoy pushing the boundaries of good taste and political correctness, but he also has a deep affection for his characters and a keen sense of empathy for their struggles.

Divine, who was Waters' muse and alter ego, gives a tour-de-force performance as Dawn, fully embodying her outrageous personality and emotional turmoil. She is both a tragic hero and a comic villain, a rebel and a victim, a symbol of the American Dream and a cautionary tale of its excesses. The supporting cast, including Mary Vivian Pearce, Mink Stole, and Cookie Mueller, also shine in their roles as Dawn's friends and enemies, adding to the film's offbeat charm.

Technically, Female Trouble is a low-budget production, shot on 16mm film with amateur actors and improvised dialogue, but this roughness only adds to its authenticity and spontaneity. Waters' directing style favors long takes, static shots, and naturalistic lighting, creating a sense of intimacy and immediacy that draws the viewer into the characters' lives. The soundtrack, featuring punk rock and disco hits of the era, also contributes to the film's anarchic energy and pop culture references.

Overall, Female Trouble remains a landmark of independent cinema and a testament to John Waters' genius as a filmmaker. It is a raunchy, rebellious, and hilarious movie that challenges our preconceptions and our sensibilities, and that celebrates the diversity and the absurdity of human experience. It is not for everyone, but for those who appreciate its unique brand of humor and satire, it is a true cult classic.

Female Trouble is a 1975 comedy. It has received mostly positive reviews from critics and viewers, who have given it an IMDb score of 7.1.

Female Trouble
Where to Watch Female Trouble
Female Trouble is available to watch, stream, download and buy on demand at Google Play and Vudu. Some platforms allow you to rent Female Trouble for a limited time or purchase the movie and download it to your device.
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  • IMDB Rating
    7.1  (10,315)