“Sabotaging Tradition,” A Review of “McQueen”
Recommendation: 3 Stars, STREAM
Director: Ian Bonhote, Peter Ettedgui, Writer: Peter Ettedgui, Starring: Magdalena Frackowiak, Alexander McQueen, Gary James McQueen
Plot: “Alexander McQueen's rags-to-riches story is a modern-day fairy tale, laced with the gothic. Mirroring the savage beauty, boldness, and vivacity of his design, this documentary is an intimate revelation of McQueen's own world, both tortured and inspired, which celebrates a radical and mesmerizing genius of profound influence.” -IMDB
Review: By my own admission, I don’t know much about the world of high fashion. I once bought a hundred-dollar pair of jeans and died a little bit on the inside as I hit the register. I read GQ and often think, “Why?” I watched and loved the original “Zoolander.” That is the extent of my knowledge. I can name very few designers and I have been to one fashion show to show support for a friend of a friend. Needless to say, I didn’t know much about Alexander McQueen before sitting down in a theater to watch a documentary about his life.
I have been doing that a lot lately with my free time. Reading books and watching films focused on people who have never been on my radar. It has been both eye-opening and surprising. This film was no different. In “McQueen,” we are treated to a front-row seat to passion and talent. We bear witness to a man who sabotaged tradition with change, shock value, and clothes that were more art than a garment.
Of course, you watch a film such as this trying to figure out what makes a person tick. This movie makes it evident there is a level of psychological toll that fame and the pressure of the industry took on Alexander McQueen. This, coupled with a mental health disorder, led to his suicide. But the film could have done more without entering a perverse, voyeuristic realm. The suicide of someone who seems to have it all is a teachable moment. I think there is a way for a director and writer to present that moment without crossing some boundary. This film leaves us with the grief and impact, but not a message of self-care and preservation. For that, I recommend streaming this one and then figuring out the best path forward for you to ensure your physical and mental health.
Be good to each other,
I've never asked readers for financial support before. I am committed to keeping content on this site free and open to all. For me, this means no paywalls or subscription fees. If you like what I create, please consider making a contribution on Patreon.