In Jump, Darling, writer/director Phil Connell achieves something extraordinary: using familiar tropes, he fashions a touching film that is refreshingly unique. This story of a budding drag queen forced to run away to his grandmother’s house in the country goes beyond the city mouse/country mouse comparisons to upend those expectations. There is no clash of generations here—rather, Connell’s weave of intergenerational hopes and fears becomes a magical tale of finding the courage to be true to oneself.
Jump, Darling contains many of the necessary (and often breathtaking) elements of great storytelling in cinema. The acting is top notch. Both Thomas Duplessie (Russell/Fishy) and Cloris Leachman (the grandmother) are note-perfect: each imbues the character with an impeccable mix of vulnerability and grace that draws us in. Connell’s direction is meticulous and succinct—expertly guiding the camera to reflect the deep and often shifting emotions evident. Even the music (where would a story of a drag performer, any drag performer, be without great music?) is joyously inspired. Serious and funny, lively and poetic—a bit of the stuff of dreams and nightmares—Jump, Darling is a profound experience. And it’s a lot of fun too!