Die Mommie Die

Director: Mark Rucker
Screenwriters: Charles Busch

Institute History

  • 2003 Sundance Film Festival


When the curtain rises on Angela Arden—ex-pop singer, mother, lover, and an amalgamation of every screen diva from 1940 to 1968—she is trapped in a hateful marriage with movie producer Sol Sussman. Her affair with out-of-work TV actor Tony Parker comes to a grinding halt when Sol returns from Europe earlier than expected. And when Daddy Sol suddenly dies (some confusion with a poisoned suppository), everyone gets into the act and almost everyone gets a piece of Tony, including Angela's Electraesque daughter and twisted son.

This retro hybrid is the perfect vehicle for the hypertalented Charles Busch. The theater veteran transcends drag with his portrayal of Angela, filling the screen in Technicolor costumes, pursing his signature pouty lips, and engaging in tart repartee. Flanked by an all-star cast, Busch seems perfectly at home in Hollywood.

Director Mark Rucker guides the production with style and flair, borrowing willy-nilly from cinematic traditions. The outcome is always hilarious, allowing the intrigue and sexual innuendo to hang in the air like expensive perfume. Yet he also allows his star to do what he does best: Busch never skips a beat or misses a chance to lift an eyebrow or turn a phrase.

— John Cooper

Screening Details

Sundance Film Festival Awards

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