Flick Fix: Queen of Ireland Review
The Queen of Ireland, directed by Conor Horgan, is an intelligent, provoking reflection on one of the most exciting times in Irish history.
When filming began in 2010, Conor and his subject Rory O’Neill aka Panti where oblivious as to what was to come. The beginning of the film depicts the life of vivacious Drag Queen Panti, an Irish Gay Icon, in the relatively subdued years pre-Pantigate. A much loved performer and entertainer, Panti was a name known to the LGBT community but to few elsewhere.
This film details Panti’s journey from an outcast Drag Queen grinding in Dublin’s basements to the epicentre of many a dinning table debate. Now a household name, the film shows how Rory was beamed into every sitting room in the country via a scandalous Saturday Night Show appearance and how he stayed there, becoming, arguably, the image of the Marriage Equality referendum.
This film, more than any I’ve seen on the matter, illustrates the turbulent history of the LGBT community and the discomfort of growing up gay in rural Ireland. There is no doubt that Conor was blessed with his timings and this film is case and point for being in the right place at the right time. It captures every inch of the frontline of the journey to a fair and equal Ireland. It is a film that will be studied by our children.
As Rory’s activism increases and the momentum for Marriage Equality grows, the film’s energy surges, laden with tears, laughter, hope and pride.
This film is more important than the history of the LGBT movement and it’s more poignant than the story of a Drag Queen activist. It’s the story of a man’s relationship with his hometown, his country and his journey from gay icon to national treasure.