Review: Seriously Red | SXSW 2022

Score: A

Director: Gracie Otto

Cast: Krew Boylan, Daniel Webber, Thomas Campbell

Running Time: 94 min

Rated: NR

We don’t get to see many of them in the US, but it should come as no surprise that Australian comedies are delightful. That tradition continues with Seriously Red, a film starring comedian Krew Boylan as the titular Red, an oddball realtor that decides to become a Dolly Parton impersonator. Funny and full of heart, Seriously Red is a frothy watch sure to cheer anyone up.

We meet an unhappy Red as she attends her office party, accidentally showing up in full Dolly Parton dress while everyone else goes business casual. Her best friend, Francis (Thomas Campbell), could not be more amused as Red rolls with the punches, eventually committing to the Dolly impersonator bit. She’s in no small part inspired by a local Elvis impersonator hired for the drab office party (an almost unrecognizable Rose Byrne). After her wild night as Dolly gets her fired for inappropriate behavior, Red decides she can pursue this as a real career, recognizing that she feels happier impersonating the country music icon.

The road to become Australia’s top Dolly Parton impersonator is filled with glitz and glamor. After beating the competition (mostly drag queens), Red becomes further and further enmeshed in the scene, striking up a romantic relationship with a Kenny Rogers impersonator. While drifting further away from her friends and family, she find herself taking off the Dolly wig and Southern accent less and less. Boylan is superb as Red, the right mix of quirky, talented, and naturally funny. She very much gives off Ilana from Broad City vibes, taking things too far but always with good intentions. Her oddball humor is matched by her mother, who isn’t afraid to give her daughter (who lives in her garage) the unvarnished truth and doesn’t shy away from walking around the house naked. Throw in some great side characters like Celeste Barber as Red’s manager Teeth and Bobby Cannavale as the impersonator company’s boss Wilson (and former Neil Diamond impersonator), and you’ve got an incredibly watchable film.

Besides the great performances, the visuals of Seriously Red are hard to look away from. The film is absolutely bursting with bright colors, from walls to set decoration to costumes. I’m unsure if Australia just looks like that or if it’s a particular style, but it’s such a great change of pace from so many films today that go for dark and muted palettes. Seriously Red knows it’s a silly comedy and plays it up in every direction.

This Australian comedy has a lot of heart and clearly a lot of love was put into its production. It doesn’t really concern itself with consistency or identifiable timelines, but it brings the jokes and feel good themes on the value of being wholly yourself. Throw in a strong, extremely watchable cast and you have a very rewatchable comedy on your hands.


About Katie Anaya

Katie Anaya