Inspired by a true icon

Tucked away in an assisted living facility in Sandusky, Ohio, is Pat Pitsenbarger (Udo Kier), a former hairstylist, who after suffering a stroke, is living out the rest of his days quietly. When Rita Parker Sloan (Linda Evans), a former client, passes away, her final wish was for him to come out of retirement and style her hair one last time. Reluctant at first, Mr. Pat knows he still has a spark in him and agrees to fulfil her final request, that is, if he can get to the funeral parlor before her memorial service.

Without a car, Pat chain-smokes his way across town in search of the supplies he needs to take care of Mrs. Sloan. With his old supply store now under new management and his old home now gone, he swallows his pride and goes to see DeeDee Dale (Jennifer Coolidge), an old rival. With his bottle of shampoo and a new polyester pant suit, he has transformed back into his old self. It’s not until he gets a painful reminder while visiting Rita’s grandson Dustin (Michael Urie), that some people don’t get the send off they deserve.

Kier gives a show stopping performance that brings both a tear to your eye and a smile on your lips. A subtle and sweet portrayal of a man who no longer has anything to live for but still manages to find a way to wake up and face the world. All too often do we see people with their best years behind them give in to the ravages of age without a second thought, unaware that there is still some bite left. Here is a man who played and lived by his own rules and come hell or high water won’t let anyone tell him what he can or can not do. Not to mention the chilling Jennifer Coolidge who reminds us all that she can easily play the frigid, villainous hairstylist just as well as a bumbling manicurist.

Writer/director Todd Stephens gives us a tender tale of a man who has seen the best years of his life slowly fade to black, but won’t go down without a fight. Rather than just sit back and watch the seconds tick away at the clock, Pat musters up the strength to write the ideal ending to his own life story. This movie serves as a reminder to its younger audience that we too will get old (hopefully) and that we can either live every day like it’s the last one we’ve got or end up looking back and wondering what might have been. Not everyone has the privilege to get their story told, but as long as there is still one person who speaks of us fondly, we will never die.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Reviewed on August 19, 2021. Rating: MA15+. Running time: 105 min.

PRODUCTION: A Magnolia Pictures release of a House of Gemini & Luna Pictures production. Producers: Eric Eisenbrey, Stephen Israel, Tim Kaltenecker, Rhet Topham & Todd Stephens. Executive Producer: Jay Fraley. 

CREW: Director/Writer: Todd Stephens. Editing: Spencer Schilly & Santiago Figueira W.. Cinematography: Jackson Warner Lewis. Music: Chris Stephens. 

CAST: Udo Kier, Jennifer Coolidge, Linda Evans, Michael Urie, Annie Kitral, Tom Bloom, Eris Eisenbrey & Dave Sorboro.

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