I Am Divine

2014 | Arts & Literature / Drag / Performance Art / Pop Culture | 86m | USA
Directors: Jeffrey Schwarz

I Am Divine is the story of Divine, aka Harris Glenn Milstead, from his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore youth to an internationally recognized drag superstar through his collaboration with filmmaker John Waters. Spitting in the face of the status quos of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty. With a committed in-your-face style, he blurred the line between performer and personality, and revolutionized pop culture.I Am Divine is a definitive biographical portrait that charts the legendary icon’s emotional complexities and rise to infamy.

Called “pure pleasure from start to finish” by Indiewire, Jeffrey Schwarz’s I Am Divine honors Divine as a serious character actor and immortal star through film clips, rare archival footage, music videos, television interviews, and personal recollections from those who knew and loved him best, including Waters, Mink Stole, Ricki Lake, Tab Hunter, Holly Woodlawn, members of The Cockettes, and his mother, Frances (who passed away in 2009). Divine was a true force of nature who continues to inspire misfits, punks, and drag queens 30 years after his untimely death at the age of 42.

Largely crowdfunded through the power of social media, I Am Divine is a loving and definitive biographical portrait, made by and for fans, who will be inspired by this film and be sent into fits of uproarious laughter.

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Reviews and Awards

“Divine gets her own well-deserved spotlight.”—Peter Debruge, Variety

“An enjoyably naughty trip through Divine’s career.”—John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter

This surprisingly sweet and touching documentary serves up a full and rounded portrait of Harris Glenn Milstead, better known to the world as Divine, the larger-than-life star whose fame was launched in John Waters’ anarchic comedies (including Pink Flamingos, Female Trouble and Hairspray ). In I Am Divine , filmmaker Jeffrey Schwarz pieces together an engaging mosaic of the likeable Milstead/Divine, drawing on loads of archival footage (Milstead was soft-spoken in real life), as well as interviews with people from Waters’ and Andy Warhol’s circles. Perhaps the most poignant material here comes during the interviews with Milstead’s mother, who largely watched her son’s transformation into Divine from a distance. Milstead died too young (age 42 in 1988) at a time when he was happy and entering new frontiers in his acting career. A thoroughly entertaining profile, this is highly recommended. (T. Keogh)—Video Librarian, 3 1/2 Stars,