Written and directed by newcomer Phil Connell, this Canadian indie dramedy stars Thomas Duplessie and Oscar-winner Cloris Leachman in her last role. Leachman passed away last year at the age of 94. JUMP, DARLING follows a young, amateur, drag queen, Russell (Duplessie) who breaks up with his boyfriend and ends up living with his grandmother Margaret (Leachman) as she struggles not to be sent off to a senior home.
Set in a small Ontario town of Picton, JUMP, DARLING is blessed with its talented cast which includes some show-stopping drag performances by Duplessie. The film explores each family member’s ambitions. In the case of grandma Margaret, she wanted to be a champion ice skater, but her dreams were cut short thanks to World War 2. Russell had dreams of going to LA or New York to become an actor, but performing as a drag queen allows him to express himself. Reality sucks when you have to pay the bills instead of going to the big city to pursue your dreams.
Thomas Duplessie’s starring turn is reminiscent of a young Ryan Gosling – he has the same pliability and moves effortlessly from bravado to insecurity.
In Russell’s circles, his ex-boyfriend and friends don’t see drag as a legitimate performing art. He’s not exactly encouraged by his grandmother but inspired by her life experiences as the two wallow in memories and opportunities lost.
Fans of Leachman will recall her comic turn as Ida, the vicious and bitter Canadian grandmother from the TV show MALCOLM IN THE MIDDLE. Consider her Margaret a close relative.
Duplessie’s starring turn is reminiscent of a young Ryan Gosling – he has the same pliability and moves effortlessly from bravado to insecurity.
Complaints are few. The drag numbers are too long though the soundtrack which includes Robyn, Allie X, Rough Trade, Years & Years is fun. And there are not enough scenes with Duplessie and Leachman (and Linda Kash, who plays Russell’s mom). Their grandson/grandma dynamic is pure gold and there are missed opportunities at multi-generational humor. But overall, JUMP, DARLING should appeal to fans of BILLY ELLIOT or even FLASHDANCE when we need reminders to follow our dreams.
With a limited theatrical engagement in Los Angeles, JUMP, DARLING, released by Breaking Glass Pictures, will also arrive on DVD & VOD platforms including iTunes/Apple TV, Amazon, Google Play, Vudu, Vimeo, DirecTV, Dish/Dish Digital, and local cable & satellite providers on March 29, 2022.
Below, watch our exclusive interview with filmmaker Phil Connell, and the lead star of JUMP, DARLING, Thomas Duplessie during OUTFEST L.A. 2021 screening of the film.