Hairspray 1988

Critics score:
97 / 100

Reviews provided by RottenTomatoes

Janet Maslin, New York Times: The actors are best when they avoid exaggeration and remain weirdly sincere. That way, they do nothing to break the vibrant, even hallucinogenic spell of Mr. Waters's nostalgia. Read more

Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader: Not only Waters's best movie, but a crossover gesture that expands his appeal without compromising his vision one iota; Ricki Lake as the hefty young heroine is especially delightful. Read more

Pauline Kael, New Yorker: When Divine's Edna Turnblad is on-screen in the sleeveless dresses she's partial to, the movie has something like the lunacy of a W. C. Fields in drag. Read more

Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times: The movie is a bubble-headed series of teenage crises and crushes, alternating with historically accurate choreography of such forgotten dances as the Madison and the Roach. Read more

Derek Adams, Time Out: Waters' most hygienically commercial film is a Retro schlock-fancier's delight. Read more

Desson Thomson, Washington Post: Waters writes warmth into his caricatures, lifting Hairspray above cartoon cult. Read more