Topp Twins: Untouchable Girls
"An irrepressible sense of fun." -- Melissa Anderson, Village Voice
"Imagine a cross between the Indigo Girls and the Smothers Brothers, and you'd have the Topp Twins, New Zealand's finest yodeling country-western-and-comedy lesbian sibling duo." -- Nick Schager, Time Out New York
Top Customer Reviews
The documentary profiles the Taurean twin sisters (born May 14, 1958 in Huntly, located in the Waikato region of the North Island of New Zealand); real cowgirls, who grew up singing to the cows on the family's dairy farm near Huntly.
Patriots with particular political passion for social justice and nuclear disarmament, Lynda and Jools left home at 17 to join New Zealand's rough equivalent of the United States' erstwhile Women's Army Corp. Reflecting on their New Zealand military service "before it was integrated," Lynda describes the three-month training experience as "sort of like a pajama party with guns."
Natural-born entertainers, the twins' harmony singing and comedic bent resulted in their developing a cast of characters including Camp Mother & Camp Leader, Raylene & Brenda, and the cross-dressing Ken and Ken. But the sisters don't flaunt their sexuality so much as embrace it and, as a result, they have a worldwide, mainstream appeal.
As Comedy Writer Paul Horan says of the Topp Twins, "On paper they should not work. On paper they should be commercial death. But they totally deliver to the audience time and time again."
In their native country, the Topps have used humor to both make a point and defuse controversy when they assert their penchant for activism. Such was the case when the twins dealt with their government's position on gay rights: "The law had said it was illegal for consenting adult males to engage in sex. But it was an injustice. We felt like it was an injustice.Read more ›
From a comedy perspective, there are scenes in the film that will leave you laughing on the floor...(sheep coloring? doggie doos?)... and that's great! But Jools and Lynda Topp are undeniable characters that rival anything you might have seen in vaudeville, anything you may have experienced in political activism, anything you might have seen at the local music house and then some. Jools and Lynda Topp are country...Jools and Lynda Topp are rock & roll. Jools and Lynda Topp are comics and characters. Jools and Lynda Topp are open lesbians and Jools and Lynda Topp marched to a drumbeat they developed... and the fans followed from down under to the U.K to the U.S.A. "Untouchable Girls" captures all of their multiple layers, and their layers were not simple personas that they put on like masks for the sake of the show, but layers that these sisters lived by and allowed their audiences to see vividly.
If the Topp Twins were American, Untouchable Girls would be an American story of living your dream and finding success. Oddly, despite the accents, and despite the New Zealand locale, when you watch Untouchable Girls you feel America all over it even though it's not there but for a glimpse. The film tells a world-wide wonderful story of inspiration, of music, of laughter, of activism, of politic and of course... of incredible yodeling.
Jools and Lynda Topp had natural guts, and this film does, too. I loved it!
A recent concert by the twins runs through Leanne Pooley's film. I'm not sure why, but Jools and Lynda related their lives and careers in this concert, asking people who had made a big impression on them to join them on stage. Their parents, brother, and friends were in the audience. So this is a good launching point for a documentary about their lives, as we can observe their style and hear their story in their own words. There are also interviews with the twins, with colleagues, interviews with the twins in character, and archival footage of their personal and professional lives. Not surprisingly, the Topps are a major force in gay rights in New Zealand. This is a conventional documentary, but perhaps that is the best way to introduce the world to the unconventional Topp twins.
The DVD (Kinosmith 2011): Bonus features are a theatrical trailer (2 min), 9 deleted interviews and deleted scenes, and a featurette entitled "Beginnings" (24 min). This offers additional information about the twins' childhood, including more interviews with their admirably sensible parents, their brother, fond memories and several funny stories recounted by the twins. No subtitles.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Topp Twins are admirable for their activism and lovable for their joie de vivre. They are extremely entertaining and humorous.Published 23 months ago by Lois Blackburn
I enjoy this documentary because it so much runs parallel to my own life, but much more fun. I watched it with my granddaughters.Published on May 29, 2014 by Evin Wood
This is such a "feel good" video! Great music, great story . . . amazing women. I ordered extra copies to send to my daughters and give as gifts. Everyone loved it!Published on April 28, 2014 by Jane M. Scott
This is one of my favorite films to show students when I teach Lesbian Texts. Even hard-edge urban students come to love the Topp Twins. It's a must-see.Published on December 27, 2013 by Editor Reviewer
What a delightful show. I had never heard of the Topp Twins, but now that I've seen them, I want everyone to know about them. Read morePublished on August 3, 2013 by stepho
They are funny, witting and political activists.....love it! You may want to watch with subtitles so you don;t miss some of their humor.Published on June 10, 2013 by Jim Jordan
The documentary is terrific. The sisters are irrepressible in their joie de vivre and you have to admire what they have achieved.Published on May 7, 2013 by Megan Whittingham