Manolo: The Boy Who Makes Shoes for Lizards

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Documentaries almost always entertain me. If it’s a subject I enjoy, it would be obvious as to why. If it’s a subject I know little about, it’s a chance to learn something in an interesting way. For example, I knew nothing about the national spelling bee — and loved watching Spellbound cover some of the participants. I knew next to nothing about video games — and loved watching a bunch of backstabbing geeks compete for the Donkey Kong championships in King of Kong.

All I knew about Manolo Blahnik shoes were that they were expensive, and they were mentioned on a few episodes of a show I loved — Sex and the City. Well, imagine my surprise when I finished this documentary and didn’t know much more about him. He’s a germaphobe and has never had a relationship (or at least they didn’t want to talk about his love life).

As someone that has been playing basketball since I was 8, I can appreciate people loving shoes. I remember being in 9th grade when one of my teammates bought the the first pair of Air Jordans ever. It was around 1983 and I couldn’t believe a pair of shoes cost $100 (or that his dad was willing to buy him the gaudy looking black and red sneakers). And listening to Carrie Bradshaw and her friends talk about shoes was always delightful, so…I was ready to learn about what all the hype was about. Yet Director Michael Roberts dropped the ball. Big time (although it’s his first film, so…)

Blahnik grew up in the Canary Islands, and after drawing some sketches of shoes, was quickly given the opportunity to design them. That lead to some stores in Paris, London, and New York…and big name clients. That means we get some talking head interviews with people like Anna Wintour, Isaac Mizrahi, Naomi Campbell, Angelica Houston, Sofia Coppola, and Rihanna. The talking head approach quickly grew tiresome.

The movie never probes why he’s never had a love (according to him). It doesn’t discuss John Galliano and his “love for Hitler,” in any great detail.

This movie needed some probing interviews, not just praise from everyone.

We learned almost nothing about his childhood, and the stuff about his influences was a bit odd. There was talk about him loving the feet in various Goya paintings. Whatever.

The movie had a few laughs. Listening to actor Rupert Everett explain that his Blahnik shoes look like giant, tattooed co*ks, with conchord heads.

The music in this was also mixed in a way that was rather loud, and the score was overbearing.

The most interesting thing about this was when he talked about liking model Tina Chow. I wondered what happened to her, and I Googled. She married restaurant mogul Mr. Chow, had an affair with Richard Gere, as well as a bisexual model, caught AIDS, her husband left her, and she died; a documentary about her would’ve been far more interesting.

All I really learned about Blahnik was that he’s rather creative, but a bit of a bore.

This is only for hardcore fashion lovers.

1 ½ stars out of 5.