Female Trouble (1974) Poster

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A film so perfect, it's revolting
zmaturin19 November 1999
"Female Trouble" is one of John Water's best movies, probably the best of his pre-respectable (read: pre-"Hairspray") flicks. Posessing a much more strong (and bizarre) plotline than the also brilliant "Pink Flamingos", "Female Trouble" documents the exploits of Dawn Davenport, a horrible juvenial delinquent turned criminal played by the unbeatable Divine.

This was Water's last film to features his entire original ensemble of actors (Divine, David Lochary, Mink Stole, Mary Vivian Pierce, and Edith Massey) and each has a memorable and hilarious role. Stole steals the show as Dawn's "retarded" 14 year old daughter, but Edith Massey is also great as Aunt Ida, who constantly urges her nephew Gator to turn gay ("The world of the heterosexual is a sick and boring life!").

The scene where Dawn hits Ida on the head with a fish is worth the whole price of admission. Recommended!!!
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8/10
The film that introduced Dawn Davenport to an ungrateful world
fertilecelluloid11 December 2005
Although John Waters is best known for "Pink Flamingos", his two best films are "Female Trouble" and "Desperate Living". Why? Well, as far as "Female Trouble" is concerned, it is the film that invented Dawn Davenport (Divine), one of the trashiest white schoolgirl tramps ever to strut her stuff in a pair of cha-cha heels. Dawn's amazing life is documented in this film and it's a cracker from beginning to end. You will laugh, you will cry, you will vomit and you will die as you behold the deliciously disgraceful antics of the indefatigable queen of crime and sleaze.

All the delightful Waters regulars (the achingly gorgeous Edith Massey, the fantastically filthy David Lochary, the marvellous Mink Stole and the putrid Ms. Mary Vivian Pearce) are paraded about like proud circus exhibits as Waters' weaves a rags to bitches story of one woman's rise from the suburbs of Baltimore to her fall in a city without pity.

Certainly this was one of the first films to explore the issue of criminals becoming celebrities. Dawn Davenport's ascent to the ceiling of crime is hilarious and perceptive and Waters clearly knew where all this was going. For mine, Waters lost his zing after "Desperate Living" when his movies got softer and his characters started turning up on TV shows like "Wally George", "Jerry Springer" and the earlier "Oprah" eps. What was fresh when Waters started doing it felt redundant when he kept doing it into the eighties and nineties.

Divine is, was and always will be a legend, and I consider myself fortunate that I once spent half an hour chatting with the great man and actor. Vincent Peranio's production design is spectacularly obnoxious and Van Smith's costumes, as always, are knitted from the threads of trash heaven.

Waters does not put a foot wrong and ends proceedings on a surprisingly emotional note.
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10/10
John Waters' Masterpiece!
FauxShow31 December 2003
This film is my favorite of all time! All of the great elements of John Waters' films mesh together perfectly in this hilarious romp that operates around the theme of 'crime is beauty.' All of the classic John Waters' actors are here, and most of them give their best performances. John Waters has said that this film is the 'ultimate Divine vehicle', and he's right. Her look literally changes every ten minutes as she mutates from a teenage hair hopper with an attitude to an unwed, abusive mother, to crime fashion model to death row inmate. Divine also has a small male role as the father of her own illegitimate child. Edith Massey, my personal favorite actress, gives her funniest and best realized performance as Aunt Ida, the bitter, veangful fag hag who lives next door. This is not the most accesible of Waters' films, and truthfully, this probably isn't the one to start with if you're not yet a fan (I would recommend Polyester or Hairspray in that case), but if you want to see an early work thats not quite as gross as the others, check it out! Waters himself says that this is his favorite of his underground films.
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10/10
The Most Realized of Waters films.
Captain_Couth5 October 2003
Female Trouble marks the last time the Waters' Dreamland crew works together. Divine plays two characters Dawn Davenport and Earl. This has to be Divine's finest hour in acting. Waters' subject matter and themes presented in this film still hold true to this day. This is my favorite John Waters film. He balances the humor and gross out set pieces perfectly. They compliment each other instead of overpowering one another. John Waters obsession with serial killers and their ilk is strongly represented here.

Female Trouble was shot on 16mm , in color and has been shown in several different running times.

Highly recommended.

A+
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9/10
9/10
desperateliving27 November 2004
God bless John Waters. He's made some of the best, crudest feel-good movies, and this is one of his crowning achievements. It's amazing how his film, ugly-looking and full of lipstick-smeared freaks, can feel positive and upbeat; while he's mocking everything in sight, he doesn't stand back and protect himself with irony or winks -- he jumps right in there, and that involvement, that energy, is easy to see and feel. It's amazing that he can feature masturbation with needle-nose pliers, beating a child with a chair, a game of "car accident," and Divine literally screwing himself and not have it be off-putting.

The very idea that Waters uses a fat transvestite with a beehive hairdo to illustrate his scorn for school shows he's not so interested in subtlety. And Divine is awesome, as always, his prissy, gravely scream -- a freak you want on your side. This is one of Waters' best satirical attempts -- there are digs at hippies and Hare Krishnas, and two scenes in particular are very prophetic: the gay encouraging, and the killing for art. Waters even mocks his own shameless exhibitionism in the testimony of the Dashers. 9/10
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Go Divine, Go
rwint24 July 2003
This is John Waters at his zenith. In ten minutes time this film has more hilarious, outrageous humor than most other underground, drive in films do in their entirety. Like with PINK FLAMINGOES it deserves accolades for it's sheer tasteless audacity. It is consistently funny, unrelentingly perverse, obnoxious, and ugly. Just like you would expect. It also has Waters film trademark of having the actors shout their lines instead of saying them.

This is much more of a solid satire than many may originally presume. In some ways it was way ahead of it's time. It keenly shows the cult of celebrity and the desperation some have to obtain it. How skewered the famous and infamous have become and our over emphasis on beauty. It also shows how the media exploits the desperate and causes the distorted image.

Above all though this is really Divine's vehicle. She (he) steals every scene she is in. Even just watching her do modeling poses or dancing on a bar top is hilarious. She also writes and performs the opening song and even plays a male character that has sex with her female character (very well edited). There's also one inglorious moment where you even see the close up of his genitals.

For those with the right mentality this is pure entertainment. It's also has a perverse brilliance that has lost non of it's edge of potency.

8 out of 10
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8/10
The world of the heterosexual is a sick and boring life.
lastliberal9 June 2007
I am at a complete loss to understand why this film was not nominated for an Oscar for costuming, makeup and set decoration. It had the most outrageous costuming that I have ever seen. The sets were so hideous that they made me nauseous. The makeup was beyond belief.

That was the good things about the film that featured an outrageous star in Divine, a transvestite that played Dawn Davenport. He was so over the top that I couldn't take my eyes off the screen.

This is the first John Waters (Hairspray, Pecker) film that I have seen. He is definitely on the cutting edge in outrageous humor, horror, and satire.

This film on the outrageous cult of celebrity is no more outrageous than the current obsession in the media with Paris Hilton.

If you haven't seen a John Waters film, check out the Sundance Channel for this one.
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10/10
John Waters' masterpiece
Casey-5227 March 2000
John Waters fans usually acknowledge "Desperate Living" as John Waters' true masterpiece of filmmaking. Just one problem with that film: no Divine! Sure, "Desperate Living" is a great film, but Divine is just someone that goes hand-in-hand with Waters (like Joe Dallesandro with Paul Morrissey). Even though "Female Trouble" is lesser known than "Desperate Living" or "Pink Flamingos", it is better than those two films put together! John Waters' first film with an actual coherent script and plotline, Divine gives the performance of her career as Dawn Davenport, the juvenile delinquent turned full-time criminal. All of the best Waters alumni are here (only missing later star Jean Hill) and are their best: David Lochary as Donald Dasher, Mary Vivian Pearce as Donna Dasher, Mink Stole as Taffy, Cookie Mueller and Susan Walsh as Dawn's sleazy cohorts, Susan Lowe as a bitchy secretary, and last but definitely not least, Edith Massey as bizarro Aunt Ida! Anyone even remotely interested in why Waters is world-reknowned as the Prince of Puke should start here; it's not too mainstream for Waters fanatics and not TOO bizarre for the mainstream crowd who love him for "Hairspray" and "Pecker". "Female Trouble" features Waters' best writing to date (50% of the lines are instant classics), best costume design, best set design, and best gimmick (Divine raping "himself"!). Even though this is the pinnacle of John Waters' career, it is still pretty hard to find on video. A re-release is in the works for sometime this year to coincide with Waters' new movie "Cecil B. Demented", followed by a welcome video release. This new version will include enhanced video and audio quality and plenty of long-lost scenes!!! A European cut is available from Castle Video, featuring much of the lost footage promised for this year's re-release!
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10/10
Top ten of all time
jonathan-5776 January 2007
Funnily enough, around the time that Divine sits in the crib with the pile of dead fish I started thinking about the words of the Bomb Squad's Hank Shocklee - "If they want noise, let's give them NOISE!" Yes, friends, Waters is the queer Public Enemy, tying identity to culture, cranking the most alienating elements of same to 11, and losing great chunks of his own demographic in the spectacular, chaotic process. This was made right off the midnight-movie success of "Pink Flamingos", and presumably this facilitated a budget, and presumably this led to the extra notch of competence that keeps the movie barreling forward from beginning to end - there's even an original theme song, plus thirty glorious seconds of Nervous Norvus singing "H-I-P". In most underground movies a scene featuring the lead actor, in two roles, raping himself for two full minutes - and THEN taking off his pants - would be the climax, not the inciting incident! And Edith "Flav" Massey yelling "NO I don't want any god damn eggs!" is an even better inversion than the new Bond's martini line. A triumphant cinematic masterpiece.
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9/10
Good Entertainment with Bad Taste
PsychlOps29 January 2008
FEMALE TROUBLE- It's astonishing how such an underground film can achieve, somehow, a level of entertainment that is very memorable. It's funny as hell, dirty as anything I've seen, and it makes you wonder what other gold you've missed from that time period.

Female Trouble works on many levels. A reason, I think, I and many many others adore this little film is because we can relate to it. It's definitely, to me, considered a masterpiece. It is a metaphor for the bad places we can go in life and the consequences of our stupid actions.

Anyway, Waters brings a great sense of morality to his film. When you watch this movie, you feel as if you can't believe you're watching such filth, but you also say to yourself, "I'm actually enjoying this...a lot!" It is divine trash indeed. And speaking of Divine, he MAKES this film. Divine is soooo hilarious that it's really indescribable. All the acting is good and refreshing, too.

This was the first Waters movie I saw and it sucked me in to see his other cinematography and watch it. Female Trouble remains my absolute favorite and will probably remain that way (I still need to see some of his even earlier films). This is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED for great laughs and a great time.

9/10
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10/10
"I seen this movie . . . " ? LOL baby
ekeby14 February 2007
I just looked through the reviews and the last one begins with the line "I seen this movie. . . ." and then goes on to call it the worst movie ever made and asks why, why was it ever made. Uh, friend? This movie was about YOU.

Let's face it. There are some unfortunate people in this world. These are the people who are completely befuddled by a line like "I'll have two chicken breasts, please." The poor things.

We know they'll never get it, there is no hope. If you know somebody who didn't like this movie--for whatever reason--drop them. They're not the kind of people you want to hang with.

I was lucky enough to see Female Trouble when it was first released. It's hard to communicate how joyous an occasion it was. Finally, someone was making movies for US. Who was US? All the people in the theater laughing and cheering.

There are so many quotable lines. Practically every line in the film--even out of context-- conveys its joy and lunacy. For years a friend and I quoted a line back to each other at appropriate times: "Yes I did, and I'm proud of it!" The line is delivered by Divine at her trial when she is asked if she killed her daughter. Pick any line at random; you'll find it will be appropriate to use SOME time during your life....

I personally like this movie best of Waters' work. There is something profound about it, a quality few satires possess. I'm glad IFC is running this film so that younger versions of US can see and appreciate this movie, and know that they are not alone.
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9/10
John Waters at the top of his twisted game
Woodyanders22 July 2018
Warning: Spoilers
Surly and defiant teenager Dawn Davenport (a fabulously ferocious performance by the one and only Divine) runs away from home after her parents don't buy her cha-cha heels for Christmas. Dawn runs afoul of a vicious rapist motorist (also played by Divine), gives birth to bratty daughter Taffy (a sublimely obnoxious portrayal by Mink Stole), and ultimately becomes a grotesque fame-addicted monster who's willing to commit all sorts of vile acts in order to get into the limelight.

Writer/director John Waters uses his trademark caustic and abrasive no-holds-barred outrageously appalling aesthetic to savagely mock everything from stifling conformity to stuffy middle-class values to American culture's oppressive obsession with beauty and celebrity. Moreover, it's acted with zest by the terrific Dreamlanders ensemble: David Lochary and Mary Vivian Pearce as an extremely prissy and preening pretentious hipster couple, Edith Massey as obese and shameless old slut Aunt Ida, and Cookie Muller as Dawn's loyal gal pal Concetta. Best of all, it's a total treat to watch Divine play her supremely trashy and venomous lead role with deliciously wicked rip-snorting aplomb. Further graced by lots of priceless profane dialogue, colorful low-life characters, and a little something to offend everyone, this wonderfully rancid doozy overall rates as a complete scuzzy hoot.
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10/10
She had a lot of problems!
alanmora14 January 2007
One of John Waters' very best films from his earlier years is the cult classic, "Female Trouble". It stars the hefty transvestite Divine as juvenile delinquent later turned high profile criminal Dawn Davenport. This film has it all and it is guaranteed to offend. Edith Massey puts on a great performance as Aunt Ida delivering such classic lines as "I worry that you'll work in an office, have children, celebrate wedding anniversaries...the world of a heterosexual is a sick and boring life!". Some classic scenes from this movie include Dawn toppling the Christmas Tree on top of her mother, the infamous scene where Divine gives birth to baby Taffy (she chews off the umbilical cord and spits it on the wall!) and the even more infamous scene where Divine (in drag) has sex with Divine (out of drag...complete with "skid marks" in his underwear!)...and this is just scratching the surface of the outrageous scenes in "Female Trouble".
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9/10
100% trash--but I liked it
MartinHafer26 February 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This is NOT one of those cute little John Waters films like CRY BABY or SERIAL MOM that you and your family can watch and enjoy together. No, instead, this is one you rent when your kids are away at grandma's or are at a sleepover. No sane parent would ever want their kids to see this sick film--especially with its frontal nudity and very, very adult subject matter. BUT, for adults with a high tolerance for the weird and bawdy, this is definitely a great film. However, others should be forewarned--it is truly an intentionally offensive and gross film.

Yes, the film is deliberately trashy and shocking--featuring some of the sickest and funniest moments on film. Some examples? Well, when Divine's character runs away from home, she meets up with a guy (actually Devine but NOT in drag) and there is a bizarre sex scene where she (?) makes love to this guy (herself). And, to top it off for grossness and weirdness, the guy has huge brown "skidmarks" in his underwear! Also, there is copious amounts of child abuse, an aunt that is angry that her nephew the hairdresser is NOT gay and she sees this as very unnatural and sick, a Christmas scene that is one of the funniest and most irreverent in history, a hand being chopped off in retribution for acid being thrown into Devine's face, etc., etc. There's just so much over-the-top and funny grossness and awful behavior it's hard to keep track of it all!!

The film appears to have been filmed on a budget of about $16.93--with over-the-top acting (if you can even call it acting), grainy cinematography and a script that seems, at times, like it was just made up as the film was rolling. And, together, these actually give the film some goofy charm and make it an interesting bit of social criticism--particularly regarding the cult of the celebrity and beauty. Divine is at his/her most outrageous--with the only prison movie performance MORE amateurish and over-the-top than Susan Hayward in I WANT TO LIVE--which, in many ways, this film parodies in the final segment.

Violence, mayhem, violation of pretty much all social norms and a stunning electrocution scene--this film's got a little bit of everything! But, if you let your kids see this, they will never be the same again!!! Watch it and then if others ask, deny you ever saw it--and try not to snicker, as it is truly a hilarious film!

By the way, if the raunchiness of this film seems a bit daunting, try watching POLYESTER--it's a bit less sleazy and more mainstream but practically as weird.
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10/10
The essential Divine/Waters movie
gr15kg25 June 2002
Easily my favorite comedy film, I've seen it dozens of times and still laugh myself sick each time I see it. I remember seeing it the first time, and whilst my friends commented on how disgusting but funny it was, all I could think about was how much I wanted Aunt Ida to live down my street. There's a huge number of gay in jokes that will not all be apparent to straight audiences, but everyone with an at least mildly warped sense of humor should enjoy it. In my opinion, its Divine's best performance overall (although as individual speeches go, I have a particular liking for the rant she gives in Pink Flamingos after receiving a turd in the post). The sets and the costumes are amongst the best ever created irrespective of budgets, and are way beyond kitch, but are somehow extremely glamorous ('hard core art' as Donna Dasher would say). There are so many classic, quotable lines its almost impossible to choose favorites, although the foul mouthed and threatening school girls are particularly funny, and Edith Massey gets some of the best lines throughout the rest of the movie. My own personal favorite bit is the 'rather insane modeling session' just after she comes out of hospital- this is Mary Vivian Pearce's finest hour- 'give us something twisted, give us something warped' was never said with more passion. Now available on DVD, with missing scenes re-instated- you can once again see Earl Peterson's unwashed member as he tries to seduce his daughter. Divine's go-go dancing is particularly clear now- you can see every role of fat wobble. How I miss seeing Divine live on stage, there's a few videos around with some of his performances, but none really capture the frenzy of a live appearance by the queen of glamour. Watch this film and learn why he was such a cult figure with adoring fans all over the world.
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8/10
John Waters at his peak...
Johnnee-24 July 1999
Though it's one of John Waters' less notorious films, "Female Trouble" finds him at his peak. It's funny without being too sick (as in "Pink Flamingos") and interesting without being too campy (as in "Hairspray").

It's a big technical step up from "Flamingos", and has much better dialogue. Where "Flamingos" had long, boring stretches between the shockingly hilarious scenes, "Female Trouble" is interesting all the way through.

Divine is good, as always, but it's Mink Stole who steals the show as her hyper-active daughter Taffy (I was in stitches when she was squirting ketchup all over herself, playing "car crash"). Edith Massey is also good (well, not good... so bad she's good, I guess I meant) as the bitchy next door neighbour, always dressed in tight, revealing leather clothes. I still want to know where Waters found this woman - she's a hoot!

Rating: 9/10
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10/10
A Must-See
T-Boy-328 June 1999
Long before John Waters was turning out "mainstream"-type fair like Cry Baby and Pecker, he was creating underground masterworks such as this and Pink Flamingos and Multiple Maniacs. Female Trouble, I think, stands out as the best of the cult movies of the '70s (with the exception, perhaps, of the Honeymoon Killers) because it is a fully realized masterwork, not just a series of "shocking" scenes strung together. Indisputably Divine's best work, it was light years ahead of its time in exploring how far people will go to achieve fame. ("I'm a thief, a s**tkicker, and I want to be famous.")
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10/10
Hilarious!
johnm_00128 September 2001
A true comedy masterpiece, from director/writer John Waters (Hairspray, Pink Flamingos), starring the very large Divine, in a tour de force performance. While it has some rather crude, shocking moments, much like "Pink Flamingos" (along with much of that film's cast), it has 10 times the wit of that film. High levels of camp and gross imagery, combined with a laugh-a-minute script, make this low-budget (shot on 16mm film), underground movie (even today it would repulse most mainstream audiences), one of the funniest films ever made. Any film that contains lines such as - "If you ever get tired of being a Hare Krishna person, you can come live with me and be a lesbian", is okay by me. Highly Recommended!
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10/10
So wholesome
tgemberl16 September 2005
Warning: Spoilers
This afternoon I was watching a rerun of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood on PBS and thinking about watching some of John Waters' film Female Trouble, and it occurred to me that both shows were very wholesome, at least for me, and that I should post an explanation of why I think they are. Of course the two shows are a lot different, but here's my explanation of why they're both so good and wholesome.

Mr. Rogers is wholesome because of the support he gives to children. I remember hearing an interview of his widow, who talked about how after his death, she'd heard from a woman who said he probably saved her life when she was a child. She was abused, but every day she'd watch Mr. Rogers on TV, and he'd tell her she was good. That enabled her to move on and not become a hater, drug addict, and such like. So one way to put that is to say that this show enabled children to deal with traumas they had experienced or might be in danger of experiencing. Mr. Rogers was a real friend to children whom he never met because of the gentle way he talked about life and the various things children would see and deal with.

For me, Female Trouble's wholesomeness is different. I say "for me," because I don't know if it's necessarily wholesome for everybody. Not everybody can profit from every movie. Movies are too diverse for that. But I think it's wholesome for me in a way that's quite different from Mr. Rogers. Of course I'm an adult, and this is a thing that's specifically for adults, as I understand it. We have experienced a lot of pain in our lives by the time we reach adulthood, and Female Trouble provides a sort of relief from it. Maybe especially if we aren't the "winners" in the world. Not the people who got the girls, were the football stars in high school, and such like. Maybe because on some level, a person who hasn't been a "winner" identifies with Dawn. She's definitely a loser who thinks of herself as a winner, and we can laugh at that, but it also means laughing at the "shams" of the world at the same time. At the same time we laugh at her delusions, we laugh at the ridiculousness of anyone trying to get famous.

I do think Dawn is the "hero" of the movie in a odd way, because at least she's always true to her ideals. She always tells the truth, however twisted it may be. And actually, I find the scene in the prison strangely dramatic and sad. Especially at the beginning. You expect it to be silly like most of the rest of the film, but I think Waters wanted to project a real sense of pathos there. It's not just funny. It's true that the scene where Dawn gives her speech on the electric chair is funny, but the one where she's in the cell with the other two inmates has a strangely dramatic quality to it, even while Dawn acts silly. It brings me to tears sometimes.

Another reason the movie is a relief from the pain of the real world is that while lots of awful things happen in it, they're so exaggerated, so "over the top," that they don't seem real. When Dawn strangles her daughter Taffy, you can laugh at it, because it doesn't seem real. The very idea that she'd be upset because Taffy joined the Hare Krishnas doesn't make a lot of sense, like a number of other things in the film. So the violence in the movie doesn't "desensitize" you to real violence, because it doesn't seem real.

So to summarize my point, Mr. Rogers is wholesome for people who are just beginning to deal with the world, and Female Trouble is wholesome for some of us adults who have lived in it and need relief from its pain. Now, in saying these things, I'm not implying that Waters was trying to make an "edifying" film when he made Female Trouble. He was trying to make one that is fun. Fortunately, what was fun for him and the actors is also a lot of fun for us, and "wholesome" in the way I explained.
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10/10
What else is to say?
ctg20056 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
I'm asking myself why I'm writing a review about this masterpiece of all times. What else can be said about Female trouble? I pride myself on being a Dreamland hard core fan, but I feel dull right now because I cannot express in the right way what I think and feel about this movie. Let's say it was a revelation to me, something that can never wear out. I watched this movie many, many many times and it's always like I'm watching it for the first time. Shall I say it's funny, hilarious, meaningful, what else? It's all that and much more. It's more than a movie, a way of life, something that can change your life for ever. If you are feeling depressed watch it and your life will get a new focus. To cut short on a long story, this picture has became a part of my life, something that it's not likely to happen all the time.
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9/10
Classic John Waters! Hilarious!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
NateManD20 July 2005
"Female Trouble" is another one of my favorite John Water's films. Devine stars as Dawn Davenport, a rebellious teen with a bad attitude. when her parents forget to buy her a pair of Cha-Cha heals for Christmas she flips out, beats them up and runs away. After getting pregnant and having a daughter named Taffy (Mink Stole), she resorts to a life of crime. She lives a dysfunctional life with her abusive husband Skooter. Who can forget crazy his Aunt Ida (Edith Massey), who disfigures Dawn's face with acid. Dawn meets a couple who run a beauty salon. They are interested in photographing her doing crimes. After a time Dawn even resorts to murder. She wants to be a celebrity criminal. She'll do anything for publicity, even if negative. Long before "Natural Born Killers" and "Man Bites Dog", "Female Trouble" took on the topic of celebrity criminals. Somewhat gross at times, but not nearly disgusting as "Pink Flamingos". "Female Trouble" is colorful, over the top camp at its best. Who can forget a comedy with such politically correct one liners like, "Taffy, a doctor examined you when you were young, and you are most definitely retarded." Now that's what I call mother and daughter bonding!
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10/10
LIFE CHANGING
wmennisny-617-25427627 July 2019
Of all events that had the greatest impact on changing my view of the cultural world, this film had the greatest impact. Relatively square throughout my high school and college years, I came upon this film around 25 and immediately thought and wondered who these people were! Who made films like this?! Who were these actors? I was fascinated to learn that a whole subset of cultural creators existed that I knew nothing about, and so my journey into John Waters, Andy Warhol, Russ Meyer and many more began and has never ended - all thanks to seeing this amazing film for the first time. True story, folks.
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8/10
May make your daughter seem normal
StevePulaski13 February 2012
Two years off of his Pink Flamingos fame, John Waters returns to the screen to prove he is the true filth elder of the seventies. Female Trouble is an exercise in poor taste, perhaps even more wickedly loathsome than the loving events we saw in Flamingos. While that, at times, felt like it was testing the audience's capacity for shock, Female Trouble sticks to a solid story about a troubled teen or later evolves into a trouble adult.

The teenager is drag-queen Divine, cementing the fact that he has an unsung talent for overacting and slapstick. He plays Dawn Davenport and is obsessed with getting into trouble in her seemingly never-ending state of rebellion. After she fails to receive the "cha-cha heels" she wants for Christmas, Dawn runs away, winds up being raped by an odious, disgusting man (also played by Divine, outside of drag), gives birth to a kid, and adapts to a fearless life of crime.

Her daughter grows up to be just as outspoken and surly as she herself. The daughter, played by Mink Stole who purposely looks as if she's thirty, is hilarious in every scene she occupies and continues the line of John Waters' secondary characters who overact and are victim to circumstance.

Edith Massey makes an appearance has Dawn's lover's Aunt Ida, a morbidly obese woman who always struts her stuff in fishnets and tight costumes. Again, much like Divine, Massey is a natural at slapstick comedy and seems relentless in her ability to find the strangest, most out of place things to say.

Like all, or most, of Waters' works, there is a moral or message lodged in here, tight enough to miss if not contemplated thoroughly. Many mistake Waters for being a man desperate in his efforts to shock, when in reality, he's an underrated, hilarious wizard of writing and directing satirical portrayals of families. The message Female Trouble brings us is how we glorify criminals in American. Apparently, Waters paid frequent visits to prison, where he met the Manson family and adopted the phrase "crime is beautiful" in this film.

Also boasting a restoration for the 2000's decade, Female Trouble looks grainy, dirty, and washed out after only being shot on 16mm and then blown up to 32mm. The result is very strange, and Waters' cheaply constructed editing style can be noted in the film, much like Pink Flamingos. Still, it doesn't deteriorate the fun and the message that leaves the viewer much to be endured.

This is pure seventies exploitation fun, rolled into a delightfully comedic and satirical package. Waters proves he is willing to write, direct, and fund pretty much any strange idea, he believes, he can make funny and moldable. Female Trouble celebrates its bad, indescribable roots with hysterical characters and a message that is sure to go unseen.

Starring: Divine, David Lochary, Edith Massey, Mink Stole, and Mary Vivian Pearce. Directed by: John Waters.
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10/10
A masterpiece
sandover27 January 2010
Warning: Spoilers
There are very few films of sublime bad taste.

"Female Trouble" transcends even that.

The moment Divine asks "Who wants to die for Art?", and after somebody from the audience stands up, says yes, and Divine starts shooting, something really unnerving happens: we pass from fierce satire - and as satire goes, the confines of the social - to the realm of the unconditional. We are not back into Breton's old surrealist adage "a surreal act is to get out and start shooting people", with its haughty, bourgeois accent, but in a new territory that challenges even that! I still cannot fathom this shifting of gears which exposes our pretensions, if not our infection; John Waters is accustomed in making categories collapse, and oppositions fall into each other, but this is unprecedented and followed by an assault that ends up in picturing Divine as a preposterous conversion of Dreyer's "Joan of Arc"!

I would put this gem in the rare American tradition which starts with Gertrude Stein's Ida, a bizarre writing about the modernistic sainthood of fame and its vicissitudes. John Waters and his Divine saint make that miracle happen again: a sublime collusion between fame and shame, saint and quaint, and somehow a cry for affection.
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8/10
Dirty Women: The History of Female Trouble
Tromafreak10 October 2008
Warning: Spoilers
Meet Dawn Davenport. Dawn is your typical, ungrateful, outlandish, hog of a teenager. Dawn hates her teachers, and her parents, and she wants what she wants, when she wants it, and on this day, Dawn has her little heart set on a pair of cha-cha heels. Considering today is Christmas, there will be hell to pay if her loving parents let her down. With Christmas now ruined, a disappointed Dawn curses her parents, destroys all the presents, and immediately runs away from home, with tears in her eyes. In a scene, that has to be seen to be believed, this outlandish hog runs through the neighborhood in a blind rage, eventually meeting up with a familiar stranger. Lust takes over, the new love birds find the nearest mattress, and trash-cinema history is made. With Dawn now pregnant, the familiar stranger wants nothing more to do with her, so like any strong woman in her position, she gives birth, to little Taffy, biting through the umbilical cord, and everything. Now, with two mouths to feed, Dawn takes on just about any job available, robbing houses, go-go dancing, hell, even waitressing. The pressures of motherhood are driving Dawn crazy, this kid actually expects poor Dawn to send her to school, and to feed her, kids can be so ungrateful. Luckily, Dawn gets a job (or something similar) at the Lipstick beauty salon, owned by Donald and Donna Dasher, an exclusive salon for exclusive beauties, and these two want Dawn as there customer (or mascot?). Anyway, Dawn ends up married to a guy named Gator, who works at the salon, and looks an awfully lot like Crackers from Pink Flamingos, but isn't. By this time, Taffy is old enough to be played by Mink Stole (in her best role), and between Gator trying to get into her pants, and just being a lousy husband all together, Dawn is fed up, and divorces him, and has him fired from the salon. With Dawn now divorced, and seemingly, on the verge of murdering her ungrateful daughter, the Dashers feel it's now time to move forward with Operation excitement. Drive poor Dawn insane, get her hooked on heroin, and brainwash her into believing that crime is beauty, and that crime is art. All of this is seemingly put on the shelf after Gators outlandish, aunt Ida throws acid (not the good kind) in Dawns face, scaring her, driving her further into insane. Once out of the hospital, Dawn kidnaps Ida, and cuts her paw off, and finally driven over the edge after Taffy joins the hare Krishna's, so, now seems like a reasonable time to end her ungrateful, little life, so she does, and then kills a few more, during her big debut as a star. With Dawn now on the run, and eventually caught, the Dashers, along with Aunt Ida, of course, testify against her, in court. Poor Dawn was found guilty, and is now dead from the electric chair, but on the up side, Dawn was convinced, that in her line of work, "the chair" was like an academy award. Dawn knew what she was doing, no moral needed for this mean-spirited story, Dawn won. So, who cares if we fail? Well, probably no one, but they might, if we kill people.

After Pink Flamingos, John Waters probably felt that his next project would have a lot to live up to, so, making an impact would be the only option, and, an impact is what he made. Not to say, Female Trouble takes things further, you understand, but, it somehow, manages to be funnier than Pink Flamingos,. In fact, Female trouble is Waters' all-time, funniest film,, not to mention, the most mean-spirited, and my personal favorite. Although. Pink Flamingos is. of course, the masterpiece, this one will keep you interested for as long as it wants. I'd give just about anything for Waters to make just one more like this. These days, Lloyd Kaufman is our only hope for true, independent trash. But once upon a time, Waters was king, and Dreamland reigned supreme. Recommended to mainstream haters with a rebellious sense of humor. 10/10
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