New York Times Review of “Believe”


Published: October 16, 2009

Several things might strike you as odd about “Believe: The Eddie Izzard Story,” a documentary about the cross-dressing British comedian who increasingly is also a mainstream actor.

One is that the film is framed as a response to what, at least on this side of the Atlantic, seems like a tempest in a teapot, and an ancient one at that: complaints that Mr. Izzard once used some old material in a show billed as “all new.” Another is that this worshipful film is by Sarah Townsend, who, when she appears in it, is identified as “director and former girlfriend.”

But such stuff won’t matter to Mr. Izzard’s many fans, who in “Believe” are given a chance to see an abundance of footage of him before he became famous (and before he publicly wore the fishnets). There are snippets of his early efforts at sketch comedy in the 1980s at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, shots of him as a street performer at Covent Garden in London. And in pretty much all of them, he’s awful.

“It was just incredible,” says André Vincent, who was also playing the streets at the time. “He died so regularly. But, you know, he stuck with it. He went, ‘No, this is what I find funny.’ ”

The guy’s persistence alone will make you an admirer if you’re not already one.

Written by Momo in: Believe Reviews |

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