Hot Docs review: Drag Kids

Four drag-obsessed children meet up in Montreal to perform for Pride, but don't expect a straightforward feel-good experience

DRAG KIDS (Megan Wennberg, Canada). 80 minutes. Rating: NNN

Children and drag queens have a lot in common so it’s only natural the mainstreaming of drag is attracting younger kids. This doc introduces us to four very different youngsters from different cities who are drag queens, but don’t know any others their own age. They meet in Montreal and prepare for a Pride performance, giving the doc a familiar narrative arc but the result isn’t exactly a straightforward feel-good film.

Shooting vérité style, Megan Wennberg captures the disappointments that come with liking something as a kid that is primarily accessible to adults, but also the joy of misfits meeting members of their own tribe. The high-pressure performance and meet-up conceit instigated by the doc also amplifies insecurities and obnoxious behaviour, leading to a meltdown scene that verges on exploitative. Drag queens, like children, can be quite mean. Though Drag Kids is refreshingly open-minded about gender, it dodges opportunities to go deeper into the more complex and uglier emotions that complicate the acceptance narrative.

Apr 28, 6:15 pm, TIFF 1 Apr 30, 1:15 pm TIFF 3 May 3, 3:45 pm, TIFF 1

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