After years as a reviewer, I thought I’d seen it all. Then Jump, Darling came along and made me a blubbering, blustering mess. This is a movie that packs a glittery, dazzling punch, and it’s unlike anything I’ve seen in recent memory.
It will forever be marked as the venerable Cloris Leachman’s last film before her death, but it also proves a whirlwind coming out for young New Brunswick talent Thomas Duplessie.
Leachman and Duplessie are peas in a perennial, gay little pod in this LGBTQ+-themed flick with an unabashed sense of self and individuality all its own. The two are a match made in heaven, and they’re adorable.
The film, from debut director-writer Phil Connell, follows a failed actor-turned-drag-queen with a drinking problem who seeks refuge after a break-up with his grandmother. The doting matriarch is losing touch with reality, and young Russell resolves to stay with her, both out of necessity for himself and a caring for his family member.
Perhaps the best thing about Jump, Darling is that we are never given the idea that Russell — or drag persona Fishy Falters – is perfect. He’s a deeply flawed individual trying to work out his own life, and help his grandmother in the process.
As his mother tries to push grandma Margaret into a nursing facility, a bond forms between our two leads as they try to prove they can both live independently – while trying to use each other to get along.
The strength of Leachman and Duplessie is cosmic, and the two are an absolute force. This may be a fantastic final role for the former, but Duplessie becomes one to watch closely with this jump-off-the-screen turn.
It’s an emotional family portrait that breaks genre conventions, and it simply has to be seen to be believed.