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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Long Overdue Tribute To One of The Most Iconic Performers of Our Time.
I'll caveat this review with a quick story - back in the stone age when I was attending college in Boston I would work during the summer in Province Town MA. One lucky break back in 1978 I got a job working stage crew for Divine. Of course at this time I was unaware of her soon to be iconic status - it was the time right before her music went platinum in Europe and soon...
Published 8 months ago by Peter Suslock

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
Not really a Divine fan - but well made movie giving some insight as to what motivated Divine.
Published 3 months ago by Michael Filighera


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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Long Overdue Tribute To One of The Most Iconic Performers of Our Time., April 7, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (Amazon Instant Video)
I'll caveat this review with a quick story - back in the stone age when I was attending college in Boston I would work during the summer in Province Town MA. One lucky break back in 1978 I got a job working stage crew for Divine. Of course at this time I was unaware of her soon to be iconic status - it was the time right before her music went platinum in Europe and soon to follow was Divines off Broadway show Neon Woman.

Over the years I've collected much memorabilia relating to Divine and all the Dream Landers. Although the two books about Divine "Not Simply Divine" and the one by her now late Mom "My Son divine"' are wonderful - nothing pays the long over due tribute to this amazing talent and gentle soul as the documentary "I am Divine"

Full of fabulous footage from when John Waters and Glen were kids in high school. Their ever growing notorious band of eclectic cast outs who found support and true friends under the watchful eye and constantly rolling camera of John Waters.

What makes the film work so well, is seeing the progression of Glenn from the obese and bullied young kid to her early drag personas and finally to her embrace of the never to be repeated, one of a kind super star ~ Divine.

What director Jeffrey Shwarz does is take on us a journey of self discovery and personal growth. He weaves a tapestry of deep connections forged over decades and he does it with grace and style. Some highlights of the film are seeing so many of the old crew, Mink Stole, Tab Hunter, Ricki Lake, The wonderful Holly Woodlawn and so any others who worked with and loved Divine. Although I was surprised and disappointed that Jean Hill was nowhere to be seen.

This is an important film - more than just a story of a fierce, over the top entertainer this is a story about surviving abuse and coming into your own. At the time "bullying" was ignored and I think Jeffrey Shwarz summed it up beautifully.

"Like the John Waters protagonists he portrayed in numerous films, Divine was the ultimate outsider. Spitting in the face of the status quos of body image, gender identity, sexuality, and preconceived notions of beauty, Divine still succeeded in becoming an internationally recognized recording artist and screen icon. He gives courage to anyone who's ever been mocked, ridiculed, and ostracized, and gives us all hope that anything's possible."

Or as John Waters said in a recent interview "Everyone messed with Glenn - no one hassled Divine"

A must for any Divine fan or even those who may not be familiar with this gone to soon cult legend.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars SPOILERS! "I Am Divine" is required for understanding American cultural development, April 12, 2014
By 
Robert V. Gibson (San Francisco, CA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: I Am Divine (Amazon Instant Video)
SPOILERS! I wrote this in response to a post on my Facebook, which was a reply to my original FB post about this bittersweet film:
Because biographies and autobiographies are not simple entertainment. This is the story of a man that morphed into an uber-counter culture phenomenon almost full circle back into the mainstream without mimicking the staid, puritanical format of mainstream,typical American entertainment. And the fact that he died the night before he was to begin playing a regular character on the not so "above-board" sit-com "Married With Children", one of the first American TV comedies that dared challenge the concept of comedy in a publicly accessible format (meaning not on cable) and the journey he took to get to that point, would have been a significant achievement. But more than the ironic timing of his death was his transformation, one that connected all the sub- and counter-culture movements starting with the beatniks and hippies to feminist and radical queer cultures-and to imagine that it almost invaded the mainstream is to witness this fascinating progression that could have been the jolt that cracked open the American sub-conscience to the great diversity that was thriving just below the surface of the mainstream. Glenn "Divine" Milstead on "Married With Children" would have injected this concept directly into the vein of the mainstream. He would have paved the way for the likes of "Will & Grace" and "Brokeback Mountain". He lived a once in a lifetime life. "I Am Divine" is required viewing.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I'd waited forever to see this...it was great, April 4, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (Amazon Instant Video)
I rented it, probably should have purchased it because I'd watch it again. Well done, interesting, and of course sad.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Captivating Look at an Unlikely Celebrity, April 19, 2014
By 
This review is from: I Am Divine (DVD)
“I Am Divine” is a documentary about Glenn Milstead, known professionally as Divine. The film traces his humble beginnings as an overweight, teased Baltimore kid, to his fame as an internationally recognized drag superstar. Included are interviews with several key figures in his life, including filmmaker John Waters (“Pink Flamingos,” “Hairspray”), co-stars Ricki Lake (“Hairspray”), Tab Hunter (“Polyester”), and Mink Stole (“Female Trouble”), and his mother.

Milstead’s collaborations with Waters’ anti-establishment form of indie filmmaking attacked head-on Hollywood’s long-held tradition of body image, gender identity, sexuality and notions of beauty. Divine was the ultimate outsider turned underground royalty, blurring the line between performer and personality. The film is a warm, affectionate look at this unique performer, showing us the humanity behind the bizarre public persona.

The only bonus feature is commentary by director Jeffrey Schwarz.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Movie!, April 10, 2014
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This was a fantastic movie, and one I have waited almost 2 years for. Money well spent on this one!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars excellent documentary, May 6, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (DVD)
this movie was long overdue. I loved seeing john waters early films.in the documentary.. it sad tha devine really had a short career and died so young. the interviews were execellnt. A definte must have
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars divine is sooooo divine, May 6, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (Amazon Instant Video)
i thought i knew a ton about divine. this documentary is amazing and done so well...i was breathless afterward. divine.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give us more Divinity!, May 6, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (Amazon Instant Video)
I thought the documentary was very good, taking us from Divine's early days with John Waters into famous period, years later. My only criticism is that the film could have used a lot more clips from his movies. The viewer really didn't get a sense of how outrageous Divine's acting was except for the narration about it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Divine is just divine, December 9, 2014
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This review is from: I Am Divine (DVD)
I have been a fan of John Waters's for a long time, and when you say his name you automatically think of his Dreamland star of stars, Divine. Born Glen Milsted in Baltimore, Glen was a kid who wasn't like other boys growing up, and then one day he met a neighborhood friend by name of John Waters who would launch him into stardom. Living a life of craziness and exotic twists that would stretch across many continents and filled with heady glam, Glen became Divine and starred in all of John's early movies before he and the Dreamlanders were launched into mainstream recognition with Hairspray. In some ways, this was the greatest thing that ever happened to any of them, but also the worst.

What this documentary tells us that many seem to oversee is the personal struggle of many gay people. Divine himself did not speak to his family for many years, went to and forth between many relationships, and seemed to be always on the edge of bankruptcy thanks to his free wheeling lifestyle. He starred in John Waters's early films, recorded disco albums, and did the drag circuit all across America. Yet, he was unhappy that he had become a prisoner of the pink sequined tube dress. He was very unhappy since he was a kid and took out his sadness in food, and his weight ballooned. He made it work for him, but he couldn't have been happy deep within. And then just when he was about to break into mainstream acting, it all came to a screeching halt. He was so excited to have been cast in a male role in an episode of Married ... With Children and wouldn't have to be confined to doing the drag scene anymore. The night before they were to tape the show, Divine would die in his sleep of a heart attack. His story lives on as the one who ALMOST made it when fate intervened and took it from him. Still, this was a fun look at Divine and his legacy of what he left us in the John Waters movies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Must Must Must Own For Fans Of Divine Or John Waters, July 20, 2014
This review is from: I Am Divine (DVD)
I have always loved the oversized look and personality of Divine. This documentary is such a wonderful tribute to Divine, his life and work. There are great interviews with John Waters and many of the early Dreamland Pictures gang including Mary Vivian Pearce, Susan Lowe, and the late Van Smith (the phenomenal costume and makeup designer for Waters' early films and the creator of Divine's signature looks), as well as other pop culture luminaries including Warhol pal Holly Woodlawn. There are also extensive interviews with Divine's mother, Frances Milstead. This documentary is definitely a positive homage and strays away from any deep discussion of the relationship between Divine and his manager Bernard Jay, whose book Not Simply Divine is somewhat controversial for its portrayal of the star. Although one could argue that this film views the star with fairly rose-colored glasses, it is still a multifaceted look at Divine, the early films that made him a star, his career as a disco singer, and his early death just as he was set to report to work on the set of Married With Children. Very Highly recommended; for those who would like more coverage of Waters' films, I also recommend the documentary Divine Filth (there is even a clip or two from that documentary in this film!).
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I Am Divine
I Am Divine by Jeffrey Schwarz (DVD - 2014)
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