THE WINNER TAKES IT ALL

★★★

'DRAG RACE DOWN UNDER' STAR BRINGS CAMP BACK TO AUSSIE FILMS

MARDI GRAS FILM FESTIVAL REVIEW
By Chris Dos Santos
26th February 2023

While we are living in a drag boom - all thanks to the mega-franchise that Ru Paul has created - the leap to film hasn't quite taken off. In 2022 alone, 12 different versions of 'Drag Race' were airing, with that number only growing year on year. When we think of queer cinema, some of the most memorable stem from drag roots: 'The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert', 'To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar' and 'Kinky Boots', you then have the 'Drag Race' spin-offs 'Hurricane Bianca' and 'The Bitch Who Stole Christmas' as well as the more grey area of 'The Rocky Horror Picture Show' and 'Mrs. Doubtfire'. More recently we have had 'Everybody's Talking About Jamie' which is based on the stage musical, but today's feature hopes to go back before of all these, hoping to become Australia's own 'Pink Flamingos'. The 1972 cult classic starting Divine (best known for creating one of the most iconic Drag characters Edna Turnblad in 'Hairspray') and directed by John Walters is cited as the main inspiration for 'The Winner Takes It All'.

When Maxine's (Maxi Shield, TV's 'Drag Race Down Under') best friend Kiki (Jessica Marchi, (TV's 'Significant Others') asks her to transfer all her savings into her account so she can escape her partner Hunter (Manuel Kornisiuk, in his debut), who she just found out is cheating. But it turns out the person he was cheating with is Maxine! And the twists don't stop there.

It's an absurd time in all the right ways, and it's a fun Aussie camp film and never lets you forget it.

While it never quite lives up to its pitch, 'The Winner Takes it All' does deliver on silly stupid fun. It's an absurd time in all the right ways, and it's a fun Aussie camp film and never lets you forget it.

'The Winner Takes It All' isn't for everyone, but it's been a long time since we've seen an Aussie drag queen on the big screen. It's a fun campy time even if it doesn't reach the cult classic status it hopes for.

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