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Inside Out 2020 Review: Jump, Darling

October 2, 2020

By John Corrado

★★★ (out of 4)

Russell (Thomas Duplessie) is a young drag queen in Toronto, who has turned to drag as a way to perform and express himself after his career as a young actor stalled out. When his boyfriend (Andrew Bushell) dumps him, Russell packs his bags and heads to Prince Edward County in Eastern Ontario, to live with his grandmother Margaret (Cloris Leachman). Margaret has dementia, and Russell decides to care for her to keep her from being moved into a nursing home, forcing him to choose between helping his family and furthering his own career as a performer.

The feature debut of writer/director Philip J. Connell, who pitched the film at Inside Out’s LGBTQ Finance Forum in 2017, Jump, Darling is in every way a major success of the festival. The story allows for moments of both comedy and heavy drama, and Connell does a very good job of handling the tonal shifts. The film as a whole is quite entertaining, but also has something darker going on underneath, introducing themes about mental illness and addiction.

The film is built around an excellent performance by Duplessie, who is equally good in quieter dramatic scenes when he must reveal the layers of pain buried within his character, as well as in bigger moments when he takes over a local bar as his drag persona Fishy Falters. Duplessie thrillingly commands the screen in these scenes, which are shot incredibly well by cinematographer Viktor Cahoj, who captures the fluid motion of Duplessie’s choreography through his smooth camerawork. The film also features appearances from several famous Toronto drag queens.

Leachman, now in her mid-nineties, also delivers an incredibly strong late-career performance. By the end, Jump, Darling actually reveals itself to be something quite powerful, serving as a promising debut for Connell and a major breakout for Duplessie.

Cloris Leachman and Thomas Duplessie in Jump, Darling

The 30th annual Inside Out LGBT Film Festival runs from October 1st to 11th, with online screenings available to anyone in Ontario, and some special drive-in presentations in Toronto.

Jump, Darling premieres tonight at 8 PM at the RBC Lakeside Drive-In in Toronto, tickets can be purchased right here.

More Inside Out 2020 Reviews: Shiva Baby (TIFF 2020)No Ordinary Man (TIFF 2020); Keyboard Fantasies: The Beverly Glenn-Copeland Story (Hot Docs 2020); There’s No Place Like This Place, Anyplace (Hot Docs 2020); The Obituary of Tunde Johnson (TIFF 2019).

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