LA Weekly Review of “Believe”

Sometimes appearances aren’t deceiving: As a cross-dressing comic and sometimes dramatic actor, Eddie Izzard is just as complex offstage as on. The compelling documentary Believe condenses the comedian’s fascinating life into 105 minutes of interviews, archive material and — most importantly to understanding any performer — several decades of performance footage. Believe, which was directed by Izzard’s ex-girlfriend Sarah Townsend, suffers from the problem inherent in most Hollywood biopics: Smashing a man’s life into a series of “very important moments” creates a schizophrenic tone. Townsend also abbreviates several of Izzard’s early street and standup performances, taking away key elements from her story’s arc — the development of Izzard’s onstage persona. Regardless, Believe contains a good deal of footage thrilling to anyone excited by the backstage and onstage workings of live performance. Izzard also gives several genuinely poignant interviews, saving the best — a reflection on how the loss of his mother influenced his desire to be a comic — for a strong emotional kick to punctuate the proceedings. The best moment, however, is the legendary performance in which Izzard appears for the first time in his trademark dress and pantyhose. This magnificent scene and others like it prove that, as with comedy itself, sometimes great material is enough to overcome merely average presentation. (Sunset 5) (John Wheeler)

Written by Momo in: Believe Reviews |


  • Rose Fullerton

    Sounds like a worthwhile project and must see for any Eddie Izzard fan. I always thought I loved him for his humor until I saw him in a movie for the first time, then fell in love all over again. Good luck with this one Eddie, my best wishes to you.

    Comment | October 7, 2009
  • Michelle Anson (80sHairBander)

    Can NOT wait to see this – although I’ll have to wait for the DVD release. Not sure what it is about Eddie that makes him such a compelling subject – but we are rabid for any tidbits we can get…

    As always Lyn – thanks for posting!!

    Comment | October 8, 2009
  • Lizard

    I too am eagerly awaiting a chance to see this, but will have to wait for the DVD. The trailer is very compelling, as is the man whom this film is about. Hope the screenings and Q&A’s go well.

    Comment | October 8, 2009
  • Momo

    I’m hoping that if it does well in NY and LA, they’ll release it in other cities too!

    Comment | October 8, 2009

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