Torch Song Trilogy (1988) - Rotten Tomatoes

Torch Song Trilogy1988

Torch Song Trilogy (1988)



Critic Consensus: No consensus yet.

Torch Song Trilogy Photos

Movie Info

Urban comedy-drama spanning nine years in the life of a gay man in New York, centering around the loves in his life, his stormy relationship with his mother, and his hopes to adopt a son.


Harvey Fierstein
as Arnold, Arnold Beckoff
Chuck Pierce
as Bertha Venation
Ken Page
as Murray
Charles Pierce
as Bertha Venation
Axel Vera
as Marina Del Rey
Benji Schulman
as Young Arnold
Geoffrey Harding
as Man with Lighter
Michael Bond
as Bar Patron
Michael Warga
as Bartender
Phil Sky
as Man in Back Room
Lorry Goldman
as Phil Beckoff
Edgar Small
as Arnold's father
Bob Minor
as Gregory
John Beckman
as Cab Driver #1
Alva Chinn
as Photographer
Ted Hook
as Old Man
Naill Gartlan
as Boy in Fight
Tracy Bogart
as Secretary at School
Frits de Knegt
as Cab Driver #2
Nick Montgomery
as Chorus Boy #1
Robert Neary
as Chorus Boy #2
Kim Clark
as Female Bar Patron #1
Stephanie Penn
as Female Bar Patron #2
Paul Joynt
as Club Heckler #1
Mitch Carter
as Club Heckler #2
John Norman
as Basher #1
Mark Zeisler
as Basher #2
Peter Mackenzie
as Young Man #1
Peter Nevargic
as Young Man #2
Catherine Blue
as Teacher #1
John Branagan
as Teacher #2
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Critic Reviews for Torch Song Trilogy

All Critics (19) | Top Critics (7)

Bracing in its frank depiction of gay sex life, both promiscuous and committed.

March 26, 2009 | Full Review…

A straightforward, very funny love story which glows with fulfilment and promise.

February 9, 2006 | Full Review…

Greatly shortened from Mr. Fierstein's long-running, Tony Award-winning play, the film version emphasizes the lovable at every turn, but the surprise is that it does this entertainingly and well.

May 20, 2003 | Rating: 3.5/5

I have not seen anyone quite like Fierstein in the movies, and the fact that he is a specific individual gives this material a charm and weight it might have lacked if an interchangeable actor had played the role.

January 1, 2000 | Rating: 3.5/4 | Full Review…

The themes are universal, and Arnold is an Everyperson who wants to be loved not for what others want him to be, but for what he really is -- "a person, a valuable person."

January 1, 2000 | Full Review…

Simply viewed as a movie about people, Torch Song Trilogy has the kind of wit, grace, and intense feeling that Woody Allen tried for unsuccessfully in Interiors, September, and Another Woman...

December 14, 1988 | Rating: 3/4

Audience Reviews for Torch Song Trilogy

A New York drag queen's relationships are disrupted by prejudice, violence, and AIDS. A tour de force performance from Harvey Fierstein propels this remarkably written and acted film. Fierstein's talents as an actor are only matched by his intelligent, insightful, and inspiring screenplay. The conflicts must have felt so fresh and timely in 1988, but it's a compliment to Fierstein's writing that they feel just as important now. Anne Bancroft's performance as Fierstein's character's mother is also very strong. She's not a horrible mother, just a flawed, human, 1980s mother, and her final scene with Fierstein is an acting master class. Overall, Fierstein is a great talent, and it's a shame there isn't more of him to see.

Jim Hunter
Jim Hunter

Super Reviewer

Everyone deserves to be loved, right? Even if they're gay? Even from they're mother? This work examines just those questions, the humanity, say, beyond the stereotype and more, the humanity within the stereotype.

Kevin M. Williams
Kevin M. Williams

Super Reviewer

This is a great gay 101 movie -- very sad about Matthew -- Anne Bancroft was brilliant as usual --

Tom Ericksen
Tom Ericksen

Super Reviewer

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