Blerd Film Club: Holiday Heart

The name Ving Rhames doesn't have the same weight to it as Wesley Snipes in all circles, but it should. Ving is one of the few people that can believably portray, a criminal, a soldier, a business man, a thug and even a drag queen. Today we're going to look at exactly that. In 2000 Rhames starred in a little film called Holiday Heart, directed by Robert Townsend and costarring Alfre Woodard.

Holiday is a gay man, and he's very open about it. Sometimes people dislike that, especially because he's a devout Christian during the day. However, at night, he's a drag queen. Despite how people might view him, he's always compassionate and willing to help people, especially after the death of his boyfriend. During this time he attempts to befriend Wanda, a recovering drug addict, and her daughter Niki. Holiday teaches Niki to speak French and play the paino.

Things go south when Wanda starts using drugs again after a few abusive relationships. She falls in love with Silas, a drug dealer. Silas is also incredibly homophobic. He gives Holiday a bunch of money and demands that he get out of Wanda and Niki's life or he might die. Holiday reluctantly agrees and plans to move to Paris.

Before Holiday leaves he confronts Wanda about abusive relationships. Wanda mimics Silas homophobic rhetoric and we learn about Holiday's past. When he was younger he killed a man who was abusing his mother. He was sent to prison, and he was raped while he was there. Soon Silas abandons the family because Wanda is using too much of his product. Niki gets abandoned when Wanda takes to the streets as a prostitute to get drug money. Holiday takes Niki in and gets her baptized as well as makes sure she finishes grade school. Then Silas returns from Florida.

He thanks Holiday for taking care of them, but says the family is moving to Florida now. As Wanda spirals out of control Silas and Holiday work together to take care of Niki. They still hate each other, but there's mutual respect because they both care for Niki. When Wanda attempts to prostitute Niki for heroin Silas realizes that he can't love her anymore. He leaves Niki with Holiday and promises to return later.

Holiday raises Niki into a rebellious teenager. One day at the club Holiday works in Wanda shows up before Christmas. She wants to get clean and has a bike for Niki. They go to Holiday's car to talk but some men Wanda had stolen drugs from attack. Holiday manages to defend them as he was a boxer in the past. However, another man hits Wanda with a car and kills her. We fast forward a few months and Niki is visiting her mother's grave with Holiday before they head to Paris. Silas joins them att eh grave and tells them he'll have a gift for them when they return.

Holiday Heart is one of those films that, if you know you know. I'd consider it a cult classic. A lot of people who believe themselves to be film experts or lovers of cult films probably never heard of it. But, it is a loved film, that still gets referenced to this day. It doesn't get played as much as it used to on television because they were pretty liberal with the use of homophobic slurs.

It's a good Christmas film. It shows that there's still love in the world, even if it does come from unlikely places. Nobody expects a drug dealer and drag queen to team up to raise a teenage girl, but it turns out it makes an okay film. Honestly, Ving Rhames as a drag queen makes the film. He's hilarious yet serious at the same time. Holiday Heart is worth a watch every Christmas season.

You can check out some of my fiction at 12 AM Fiction or follow my web serial Exsanguinate and of course hear me on the Powerbomb Jutsu podcast.
Blerd Film Club: Holiday Heart  Blerd Film Club: Holiday Heart Reviewed by Darrell S. on Tuesday, February 18, 2020 Rating: 5

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