Kinky Boots (film)

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Kinky Boots
A long thigh-high red boot, fills the foreground on the left, three people stand in the distance on the back right
Theatrical release poster
Directed byJulian Jarrold
Written byGeoff Deane
Tim Firth
Produced bySuzanne Mackie
Nick Barton
Peter Ettedgui
Mairi Brett
StarringJoel Edgerton
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Sarah-Jane Potts
Jemima Rooper
Linda Bassett
Nick Frost
Robert Pugh
CinematographyEigil Bryld
Edited byEmma E. Hickox
Music byAdrian Johnston
Distributed byMiramax Films
Release date
  • October 7, 2005 (2005-10-07) (United Kingdom)
  • April 14, 2006 (2006-04-14) (United States)
Running time
106 minutes[1]
CountriesUnited Kingdom
United States
Box office$9,950,133[2]

Kinky Boots is a 2005 comedy-drama film directed by Julian Jarrold and written by Geoff Deane and Tim Firth. Based on a true story, the film tells of a struggling British shoe factory's young, strait-laced owner, Charlie, who forms an unlikely partnership with Lola, a drag queen, to save the business. Charlie develops a plan to produce custom footwear for drag queens, rather than the men's dress shoes that his firm is known for, alienating many in the process.


In Northampton, in the East Midlands of England, Charlie Price is attempting to save the family shoe factory, which has been floundering since his father died. While on a business trip to London to sell the company's extra stock, Charlie encounters a woman being harassed by drunken hoodlums and intervenes to his detriment. He wakes up backstage, in the dressing room of Lola, a drag queen performer and alter ego of Simon. Charlie is intrigued when he sees that drag queens' high heels snap easily, and wishes to create high heels that can support a greater range of foot sizes and body types. Back in Northampton, while in the process of laying off workers, one employee, Lauren, gives Charlie the idea of looking for a niche market product to save the business. Charlie then recruits Lauren to assist him in designing a high-heeled boot for drag performers.

When their initial designs are met with scorn by Lola, Charlie and Lauren bring her on as a consultant. The road is initially bumpy: many of the male employees are uncomfortable with Lola's presence and the new direction, and Charlie's relationship with his fiancée, Nicola, begins to deteriorate as she encourages him to sell the factory building to a real estate developer. Although things improve when Lola tones down her personality and starts making friends, matters take a turn for the worse when Charlie is invited to showcase the new boots in Milan; the strain he puts on his employees causes most of them, including Lola, to walk out.

Charlie's fiancée arrives at the factory, furious that he took out a second mortgage on their house to save the company. Nicola insists that he sell the company, but Charlie is determined to save it and the jobs of his employees. The argument (which ends with Nicola leaving Charlie) is broadcast on the factory's PA system, which is overheard by Lauren and Lola's bitterest opponent at the factory, Don, a chauvinistic male worker. Don turns over a new leaf after Lola had graciously allowed him to win an arm wrestling match, and rallies the factory workers to make the boots in time for Charlie and Lauren to get to Milan. When Charlie catches Nicola with another man, he angrily takes out his frustrations on Lola, causing Lola to quit. After arriving in Milan with no one to model the boots, Charlie is forced to go onstage and model the boots himself. After he trips and ultimately falls flat on his face, Lola and her posse of drag queens arrive, put on a spectacular runway show, and save the day.

In the film's denouement, Lola headlines her own show and sings a song in honour of the "kinky boots factory" of Northampton. Most of the key workers are in attendance and enjoying themselves, including Charlie and Lauren, who have become a couple.



An episode of BBC2 documentary series Trouble at the Top, broadcast on 24 February 1999, inspired the film.[3] The former featured Steve Pateman struggling with possible closure of W.J. Brooks Ltd, a family-controlled Earls Barton, Northamptonshire shoe factory, that soon catered to the market of men wearing traditionally women's shoes, such as black patent boots, under the "Divine" brand.[3] Many of the film's scenes were filmed in the factory used by Tricker's in Northampton.[4]


The Kinky Boots: Original Soundtrack was released on April 11, 2006 by Hollywood Records.[5]

  1. "Whatever Lola Wants" – Chiwetel Ejiofor (2:12)
  2. "In These Shoes" – Kirsty MacColl (3:39)
  3. "I Want to Be Evil" – Chiwetel Ejiofor (2:34)
  4. "Mr. Big Stuff" – Lyn Collins (4:00)
  5. "It's a Man's Man's Man's World" – James Brown (3:17)
  6. "I Put a Spell on You" – Nina Simone (2:36)
  7. "The Prettiest Star" – David Bowie (3:09)
  8. "Together We Are Beautiful" – Chiwetel Ejiofor (4:10)
  9. "Yes Sir I Can Boogie" – Chiwetel Ejiofor (4:20)
  10. "Wild Is the Wind" – Nina Simone (6:59)
  11. "The Red Shoes" – Adrian Johnston (4:26)
  12. "Steel Shank" – Adrian Johnston (3:39)
  13. "Free to Walk" – Adrian Johnston (3:39)

The following songs are included in the film but are not on the Original Soundtrack:


Critical response [edit]

The film received mixed reviews on release, with critics decrying the "formulaic Britcom plot". On the review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 57% based on 111 reviews, with a weighted average score of 5.70/10. The website's critics consensus reads: "Kinky Boots relies heavily on the Full Monty formula of Britcoms, while playing it too safe in a desperate attempt not to offend. Ejiofor's performance is its redeeming virtue.[6]

Box office[edit]

The film earned a total of $9,941,428 internationally.[2]


Ejiofor was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy.[7][8]

Musical adaptation[edit]

A stage musical adaptation debuted on Broadway in April 2013, following an out-of-town try-out at the Bank of America Theatre in Chicago. The songs were composed by Cyndi Lauper, and the book co-written by Harvey Fierstein,[9] director Jerry Mitchell was also the choreographer.[10] The Chicago cast included eventual Broadway cast members Billy Porter and Stark Sands.[11] At the 67th Tony Awards (2013), the Broadway production won six Tony Awards, including Best Original Score (Lauper, first sole female winner), Best Actor (Porter) and Best Musical.[12]

See also[edit]

References [edit]

  1. ^ "KINKY BOOTS (12A)". British Board of Film Classification. 2005-08-23. Retrieved 2013-06-24.
  2. ^ a b Kinky Boots (2006) at Box Office Mojo
  3. ^ a b Dowd, Vincent (2013-06-18). "BBC News - Kinky Boots inspiration comes out of the shadows". Retrieved 2013-11-30.
  4. ^ "Getting to the roots of Kinky Boots". Northampton Borough Council. 4 September 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2020.
  5. ^ "Kinky Boots: Original Soundtrack". iTunes.
  6. ^ "Kinky Boots Movie Reviews, Pictures". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango. Retrieved November 14, 2021.
  7. ^ Holland, Patrick. "The Old Guard's Chiwetel Ejiofor says dancing in 6-inch Kinky Boots memorably scared him". CNET. Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  8. ^ "Kinky Boots". Retrieved 2020-08-15.
  9. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Kinky Boots Musical Will Kick It Up in Chicago in October, Prior to Broadway". Archived 2013-11-03 at the Wayback Machine, February 22, 2012
  10. ^ Jones, Kenneth (2008-07-08). "Kinky Boots, the Musical, Walking Toward Broadway". Playbill. Archived from the original on 2008-07-13. Retrieved 2008-07-10.
  11. ^ Jones, Chris. "'Kinky Boots' announces full cast"., June 28, 2012
  12. ^ Purcell, Carey (June 9, 2013). "Kinky Boots, Vanya and Sonia, Pippin and Virginia Woolf? Are Big Winners at 67th Annual Tony Awards". Playbill. Archived from the original on June 11, 2013. Retrieved June 13, 2013.

External links[edit]