Elvis & Madonna
"Elvis & Madonna" is the unconventional love story between a transwoman and a lesbian that come together at their lowest point to help each other. With trans relationships being severely underrepresented in media, my hope was that the film would take time to explore the intricacies, both sexual and emotional, involved in this pairing. Unfortunately, "Elvis & Madonna" makes the bizarre choice to combine this storyline with an unnecessarily complicated crime drama that ultimately leaves little to take away from the film.
The story begins with Madonna being attacked and robbed by her frequent lover "Tripod Joe." This is particularly devastating to her as she had been saving for years to be able to put on her own show and the money stolen from her was her ticket to escape the dreary life in which she has found herself. Elvis enters the picture as a pizza delivery girl who finds and helps Madonna immediately after Joe’s attack.
From this meeting, they begin to slowly enter a romance that helps both of them leave their respective painful pasts behind them and to begin to realize their dreams. Here is where I would have loved to have seen some in-depth conversations between the two exploring what it means to be in a relationship together. Instead there were a few rushed arguments and an even more rushed declaration of love.
After they move in together, the problem of Tripod Joe arises again and somewhat erratically changes the direction of the movie. It felt as though I had left what seemed like a heartfelt, albeit poorly thought out, romantic comedy and entered a crime drama for no reason. Sure, everyone got his/her happy ending and Tripod Joe of course got what was coming to him, but did the audience? My feeling is that they did not.
The DVD came with a few illuminating deleted scenes and ’Making Of’ featurettes that helped get inside the film’s direction and creative process. The film itself felt pretty consistently low budget so I was actually relatively pleased with the extra features that accompanied the movie.
I can’t say that "Elvis & Madonna" was completely lacking in entertainment value. It was more lacking in substance and relatable moments. This is particularly disappointing because it had many easy tropes to work with: performer transwoman, defiant lesbian woman who feels like an outcast in her family, a mean ex-boyfriend as a contrast to the new loving relationship. However, none of these historically effective plot points were handled with enough thought and the result was a film that may have some entertainment value but little else.
"Elvis & Madonna"