PJ was feeling under the weather on Saturday, so instead of going out for Halloween, we decided to stay in and watch Pageant, a documentary about the Miss Gay America Pageant. Here’s the trailer:

Simply put, I loved this documentary. Let’s start with the level of being a documentary. This film focuses on five of the 52 contestants in the Miss Gay America Pageant. I liked this emphasis on just a small sampling of the contestants, since it allows you to become familiar with them and start rooting for (or against) one or more of them. This focus creates the documentary’s narrative and sucks up into the competitions and back- and onstage dramas.

Like the ladies in the Miss American Pageant, these ladies participate in a series of competitions before the pageant’s finale, where the finalists are named and then compete for the crown. We see the contestants undergo an interview as men — they are required to dress in male clothing and are judged, in part, on their ability to distance themselves from their drag persona. They have a solo talent competition, in which they have to perform alone and without separate props. Then they have a talent production contest, in which they can have back-up dancers, props, and sets. And they have to compete in evening gowns.