Despite a long and successful career veteran British actor Derren Nesbitt is hardly a household name, and you would have to possess a remarkable memory for example to remember that he played a handsome blackmailer in the groundbreaking gay classic Victim in 1961. Now 83 years old and still working, he turns in a powerful performance as an aged drag queen in what is essentially a two-hander tale.
He plays Jackie who, overdressed to the nines every night, delights the crowd of a small club In Brighton (England) with her potty mouth that trots out an endless stream of hilarious double-entendres. One night the club owner asks her to show a newbie performer the ropes, and to everyone’s surprise the 21 year old Faith (Jordan Stephens) who seems full of attitude, actually quickly develops an enormous respect for Jackie’s total fearlessness. Not just performing in the club, but because he physically came to Faith’s rescue when she is set on by some homophobic thugs.
Neither Jackie or Faith are what they initially appear to be. The old drag queen is actually a straight cross-dresser and has an ex-wife and an estranged daughter in his past. Beneath all his worldly confidence, young Faith has been rejected by his family and is now sleeping rough in his car
What develops between this odd-couple is a touching parent-child relationship as Jackie insists Faith moves in with him. However as they learn more about each other, the roles are sometimes reversed with Faith trying to lead Jackie into making some better life decisions.
The relationship between the two is the soul of this enchanting movie and although there are no real surprises in how it all plays out, we are nonetheless soon very invested in the outcome. The film works so well because of the remarkable chemistry between the two actors and although Stephens is known mainly as a musician, he certainly holds his own against the experienced Nesbitt.
Tucked, written and directed by Jaime Patterson had its world premiere at Outfest earlier this year and ended up winning the audience award as well as a jury prize for best international film