Pretty Red Dress

Reviewed by Vaughan Ames

A film about a man who likes to wear women's clothes and his wife who wants to get the lead role as Tina Turner (played by Alexandra Burke) in a West End production seems like a strange plot for a film; when you find out that their daughter is about to come out as a lesbian too, it gets even weirder. Maybe what was the strangest of all was that the story was fundamentally fairly straight forward – all three were just lost in their world and were looking to find themselves.

Travis comes out of prison to find his South London world has changed – the only thing he can fall back on is his predilection for women's clothing, in this case the pretty red dress he has bought for his wife Candice. Inevitably he is caught in the act by Candice and daughter Kenisha. Candy meanwhile has her sights set on the top of the entertainment world, with successful auditions for the role as Tina Turner before she learns that she has not got the job.

A disturbing film to watch as a man, it was nonetheless fascinating to see Travis falling out with Candice and getting more and more disturbed until he deliberately puts on the red dress in front of his mates and gets beaten up for his trouble.

The final denouement comes when he realises that what matters most is rescuing his daughter who is about to be expelled from school for fighting to defend him against those calling him gay; he confesses to the headmaster that he 'expresses himself differently', wearing women's clothes, thus becoming finally 'free' to make his family work, alongside Candice who has settled for being a singer in a local group and Kenisha who can now come out of the closet. A thought-provoking and interesting evening, with some great acting from all three.