‘Fairytale’ is a real-ish unreality

Main character holding a knife in the air
Fairytale photo by Breaking Glass Pictures

The viewer is swept into the colorful world of “Mrs. Fairytale”

Fairytale cover photo
Fairytale photo by Breaking Glass Pictures

Who knew that a poodle with a pompadour could be the answer to our troubled times… or at least an entertaining distraction? Who knew that one hot young Italian actor (Luca Santagostino) playing multiple roles as three brothers could help us escape from the characters dominating the news today? Who knew that a pretend 1950s housewife played by a very masculine drag queen could help us forget what’s happening in the world today while enlightening us at the same time?

Perhaps those who brought us the movie Fairytale knew, or maybe the timing is just a coincidence, but this dark comedy-fantasy is just what we need to slip away from reality for an hour and a half.

Set in a 1950s suburban home with its Salvador Dali meets Brini Maxwell sets of mid-century furnishings, colors, and patterns; Fairytale is not just the name of the movie, but the name of the main character as well. She’s played by Filippo Timi, clearly, a man in drag who embraces and exudes his character’s gender fluidity.

When husband Stan arrives in his Mad Men suit and equally chauvinistic attitude, he helps wrap up the plot like a cartoonish film noir.

From the first scene, the viewer is swept into the colorful world of “Mrs. Fairytale” as she searches her surreal 1950s suburban home for “Lady,” a plush toy poodle that is literally a toy.

The film is a symbolic commentary on a host of topics—femininity, gender fluidity, 1950s American suburbia, gun violence, and ultimately accepting yourself for who you are. And in the process inspiring those around you to do the same.

The dialogue reinforces these messages, both the commentary on what has been as well as what could be. “A woman is no more than a household slave,” says Fairytale’s mother during a visit, and, “This corset crushes my organs. Luckily, the doctor prescribed these cigarettes for my asthma.”

The dialogue also hints at what’s real and what’s not. “Wake up, baby! Life’s no fairytale,” says her husband. Her mother, with a strange and likely unintentional resemblance to Rudy Giuliani, says, “Life is a farce, and if we removed our masks, all you’d hear are the screams of despair.”

Fairytale knows this also and even takes steps to change things. “No mother, I am not crazy. The paradise that surrounds me is based on lies,” she says. “The only monsters we should fear are ourselves.”

In one scene, reality appears in black and white on the television while fantasy plays out in full color in the living room, where suited men and decked out women experience a 1950s-style cocktail party where they toast “surprises!”

Fairytale main character on the phone in the kitchen
Fairytale photo by Breaking Glass Pictures

So, get ready for a surprise ending, which should actually be no surprise at all as we were shown clues throughout, and even told by the movie’s title that this was all just a . . . Fairytale! Or was it?

Find out for yourself, when you enjoy the real-ish unreality of Fairytale (in Italian with English subtitles), available from Breaking Glass Pictures.