Desperate Living
Desperate Living (1977)

Divine was touring as a cabaret singer when director John Waters made this comedy of the grotesque, but he filled the void admirably with the equally rotund Jean Hill and burlesque-queen Liz Renay. The film tells the story of Peggy Gravel… More

Directed By:
Rated: R
Running Time:
Genre: Comedy
Release Date: December 31, 1977
DVD Release Date: April 1, 2003
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Critic Score: 70% Rotten Tomatoes™ Critic Reviews
Emanuel Levy

Even John Waters himself was not entirely pleased with his weird tale of mad housewives and eccentric lesbians in revolt, but the performances are good.

Full review…
James Kendrick
Q Network Film Desk

even by Waters' own admission, it is too grim and unsavory

Bill Gibron
DVD Verdict

Desperate Living [is] a movie that feels like three separate films fused together. The first and the second are fantastic.

Full review…
Christopher Null


Scott Weinberg
Apollo Guide

Not for the weak of heart or stomach, this one is worth a look for truly brave movie fans. People with delicate constitutions shouldn't even get close.

More reviews for Desperate Living

Flixster Audience Score: 81% Flixster User Reviews
Cassandra Maples
Possibly more depraved than "Pink Flamingos", if that's possible, "Desperate Living" is a paradox for the senses. Although tasteless… More
Sylvester Kuo
It's dirty, it's funny, it's sick, it's hilarious. The storytelling is interesting, it's a whole lot of weird ideas combined, and yet… More
Stephen M
An adult fairy tale in which the evil queen of a shanty-town called Mortville is overthrown by a bunch of lesbians. Some of this is hilarious but, on the whole,… More
Henrik Schunk
I am not a fan of John Water. I fact, I do not think he is a good filmmaker. People claim that his movies are ironic but I think that is just the way people… More
Lafe Fredbjornson
A trashy sleazy fairy-tale - done the John Waters way. A bored housewife and her obese maid escape to a fantasy shanty-Kingdom, ruled by a kinky old Queen and… More
Quinto Wallight
Probably one of the most forgotten Waters films just so happens to be my favorite. The whole 'fairy tale' feel of it all makes it a hilarious contrast… More