An adaptation of the off-Broadway rock theatre hit, this is the story of an internationally ignored rock singer, Hedwig, and her search for stardom and love. Hedwig reluctantly submits to a sex change operation in order to marry an American G.I. and get over the Berlin Wall to freedom. The operation is botched, leaving her with the 'angry inch'. Finding herself high, dry and divorced in a Kansas trailer park, she forms a rock band and encounters a lover/protégé in young Tommy Gnosis, who eventually leaves her, steals her songs and becomes a huge rock star.
Through a series of performances at the Bilgewater chain of seafood restaurants across America transsexual Hedwig and her band The Angry Inch perform her life story. Born in East Berlin as Hansel, Hedwig takes on her mother's name and has a sex change operation to marry an American GI and move to a trailer park in Kansas City.
Unfortunately the operation leaves her with only an 'angry inch'. When the GI leaves her, she does various jobs – mostly sexual – but occasionally babysitting, which is where she meets the teenage son of a general whom she sets on the path to rock stardom as Gnosis. Her tour of restaurants is dogging his star tour because he has stolen her music and lyrics.
This glam-rock musical with its post-punk edge has equal parts irony and true yearning for finding your missing half. It was adapted from an off Broadway hit and is energised by the performance of John Cameron Mitchell as Hedwig who makes his directorial debut with the film a really amazing achievement. But the film is also the work of composer Stephen Trask, the two apparently met on an aeroplane. The adventurous nature of the production, containing as it does animation by Emily Hubley, is a real tribute to independent cinema anywhere.