Frameline48: Chuck Chuck Baby

British writer/director Janis Pugh made a huge splash at the Toronto and Palm Springs International Film Festivals (to name a few) with Chuck Chuck Baby, a singular combination of a classic lesbian romance with an unconventional jukebox musical set in a Welsh chicken factory.

Living with her ex-husband and his family, Helen (Sherlock’s Louise Breale) finds relief in two places: the cathartic throes of music and, surprisingly, at the local chicken factory — thanks in large part to the tight-knit group of working-class women who toil alongside her. Hollowed by loss, Helen’s former crush Joanne (an ever-charming Annabel Scholey) returns to the small town. While Helen and Joanne woo each other, they rekindle an adolescent love that never was, allowing Pugh to beautifully render the simultaneously fleeting-yet-unending feeling of a first queer love. Infused with humor and warmth throughout, Chuck Chuck Baby’s musical moments underscore its strengths. While the film’s characters may relish the escapism, viewers who have starred in the music videos of their imagination will find Pugh’s grounded approach stunningly relatable.

1h 41m
Janis Pugh
First Showing
June 22, 2024