The Queens Are Relegated To The Shadows
Dancing Queens is a well-meaning drama with a heartwarming message and a decent array of characters. It’s also a movie that takes way too long to get to the point. At nearly 2 hours long, Dancing Queens is an unnecessarily bloated picture, with very little dramatic pizzazz and a criminally under-utilized soundtrack which features some amazing numbers.
Away from the drag scene though, the movie centers on 23 year old Dylan. Dancing is her passion; a nirvana to honour and remember the passing of her deceased Mother. However, Dylan currently juggles her role as a dancing teacher with helping out her Father as a delivery driver.
Dylan’s Grandmother however, senses something special in her and doesn’t want to see those talents go to waste. She soon acts on that, giving Dylan details for an upcoming audition in Gothenburg. So off Dylan goes, ready to make her dreams come true and joining a major modern dance company. Only, she gets the month wrong.
Thankfully the judges take pity on her and suggest she take up a job cleaning at a local drag club called Queens.
There, she finds the place still hungover from the death of a former star called Jackie and currently engaged in a power struggle of sorts, with the creative direction of the club in dispute.
Well, Dylan is the perfect firecracker to ignite this club scene back to its glory whence it strove from, injecting some youthful energy and disguising herself as a drag act in the process.
It’s all pretty familiar stuff but boy does the film takes its sweet time getting to this point. In fact, that above synopsis literally eats away around 70 minutes of the run-time. And in all that time there’s not a whiff of flamboyant, dazzling dancing or anything that makes drag so exciting and stylish.
It’s especially disappointing because the movie plays with ideas about grief for Dylan but never allows its supporting characters the same luxury. In fact, most of the subplots in this movie are disappointingly underutilized. There’s faint whiffs of hard-hitting themes like identity, homophobia and self-doubt, but instead, all of that is given very little time to grow.
Thankfully when the music starts and the show begins, Dancing Queens becomes a much more enjoyable beast. As mentioned before, the music is absolutely on-point and you’ll undoubtedly be bopping your head along to the recognizable anthems.
These moments of glory are fleeting, to say the least, as this predictable and tepid picture fails to really put its real stars in the spotlight. It’s more frustrating because these numbers could have been a really emotional crescendo to the bubbling drama across the film but fail to hit the heights they deserve to hit.
Aside from the music and some compelling dancing, Dancing Queens is disappointingly formulaic, lacking the energy needed to really catapult this up to the throngs of greatness.
The feel-good ending and some visually appealing dance numbers do help but ultimately Dancing Queens pushes its Queens to the shadows and doesn’t have enough dancing to make it a high-energy venture. Instead, this tepid picture fails to stand out, and next to so many others in this genre, is unlikely to be remembered long after the final credits roll.
Read More: Dancing Queens Ending Explained