JUMP, DARLING (#NEWFEST2021)
Delightfully entertaining and taking a different approach to an introspective journey, Jump, Darling is boosted by newcomer Thomas Duplessie who steals every scene through both emotional range and musical outbursts.
When a young drag queen (Duplessie) breaks up with his boyfriend, he moves back home with his ailing grandmother (Cloris Leachman) as he attempts to pick up the pieces. Jump, Darling has all of the plot focuses one would expect: moving back home, standing out, finding your path, family struggles, and the meaning of life. Leachman, the legend that she is, delivers a fine performance (though it is at times repetitive) in her final film, especially opposite Duplessie; both play off of one another rather well and pull at the empathic heartstrings. The latter is mesmerizing when dressed as his drag persona Fishy Falters, delivering both humor and the dance moves, bringing life to even the drabbest of bars.
It’s through Duplessie that Jump, Darling shines, a raw performance that is representative of so many people in this world, especially in the LGBTQ+ community. It is through Leachman’s experiences and perspective that we see his character expand his understanding of the world, of his situation, and of himself. Though not all of the story arcs hit (the skating subplot with Leachman feels a bit underdeveloped, yet is rightfully surprising), one can’t help but to feel the charm emanating from Phil Connell’s film. Most importantly, Jump, Darling delivers important representation and invites personal reflection through an approachable story that keeps you engaged.