Stage Mother (2020) Review

Maybelline is a church choir director in Texas and when her estranged son dies from a drug overdose she heads to San Francisco to learn about his life and inherits his drag club!


Stage Mother is a rather incredible journey and has a lot more heart and soul than I ever expected. I will admit that I went into it not fully knowing the background story which made the opening scene rather shocking. The only thing I knew prior to watching the film was that it had drag queens in it.

We quickly learn that Maybelline had not seen her son Rickey for many years as she did not agree with his life choices and her husband (and his father) Jeb was even worse. This created for some tension as he forbid his wife to attend their sons funeral. At that moment I realised that this was going to be a really tough watch. Which at times it was but then it manages to create some emotional moments combined with some comedy, not forgetting some musical numbers.

As Mabyelline arrived for the funeral and immediately managed to annoy Nathan, who was Rickey’s boyfriend and business partner who had been together for years. Although they had obviously never met before. She then actually gets on very well with Sienna who named her son after Rickey, and was his best friend. It all feels like Maybelline was brought in at the right time to help fix everyone’s lives and get rid of some of her guilt. While that might actually be right in terms of the story it is somewhat of a redemption for her as she should have still been in her son’s life. Something that she would always regret but manages to help his friends and loved ones, this at times makes you feel annoyed because it seemed she had an amazing relationship with him as he was growing up!

We are given many different issues and situations that the people need to deal with and that is something that I actually thought was really powerful within the film. It did not try and hide anything in that sense, the worst things were happening with drugs being key to the storyline. This creates some very emotional scenes that are balanced out in the best manner with the musical moments and some great ones liners.

Jacki Weaver is great in the leading role and shows that you still can get good roles past a certain age for women in Hollywood, sometimes we just need to be reminded of just that! Capturing the different emotions as the film goes on and pushing the limits. The rest of the cast are truly fantastic as well with Lucy Liu and Adrian Grenier offering the biggest in terms of support roles. Then we have Mya Taylor, Allister MacDonald and Oscar Moreno as the absolute scene stealers in the drag show who are all complex and fantastic characters a true joy to watch.

The balance of the different themes throughout the film was something I really enjoyed and I really hope that people give this film a chance. The leading performance from Jacki Weaver is well worth watching as she must come to terms with the loss of her son and the regret from how she did not reconnect with him.

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