Review: Queen Tut

Official synopsis: Upon the loss of his mother, an Egyptian teenager Nabil (Ryan Ali) leaves his home of Cairo to live with his father in Toronto. Parachuted into the underground queer nightlife in Toronto, he confronts his mother’s death, much to his father’s disapproval, by taking up the ways of drag and becoming Queen Tut.

There's so much to love about this film. Endearing performances, gorgeous costumes, found family. It feels very honest. It's wholesome to see Nabil feel connected to his mother by a sketch of a dress she planned to make, and for that dress to come to life as he does as Queen Tut. I liked the focus on preserving LGBTQIA+ history and not letting it fall to the wayside of gentrification. Even if this was a fictional landmark, you feel for it as if it's real. 

Another part of Nabil's story outside of his relationship with his parents is how he grapples with religion. I liked that the film has space for both being critical of people using religion to discriminate against others, and for those who still find comfort in it. Faith is so often weaponized, that it makes me happy when I see churches who truly accept all. They feel so few and far between these days. I feel like it's been a while since I've seen faith depicted this way in a film, so I had to call it out.

Ali is very charming as Nabil. He's easy to love and get behind, but the real showstopper is Alexandra Billings as Malibu, the drag mother that takes Nabil under her wing so to speak. She's funny, loving, and sings beautifully at one point. 

There are times where I felt the dialogue was a little stilted, particularly in scenes with Nabil and his dad. Those just didn't flow as well as his scenes with other actors. But even with that minor grievance aside, this film is certainly worth your time to watch.

Queen Tut debuts on VOD tomorrow!


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