Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie is a 2016 British comedy film directed by Mandie Fletcher and written by Jennifer Saunders, based on the television series Absolutely Fabulous. It stars Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield in her final film role and Jane Horrocks, reprising their roles from the series. The film finds the drug-addicted, alcoholic PR agent Edina Monsoon and her best friend/codependent Patsy Stone on the run from the authorities after it is suspected they killed supermodel Kate Moss. The film serves as a de facto series finale for the show.

Principal photography began on 12 October 2015 in the south of France. The film premiered in London on 29 June 2016.[4] Theatrically released in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016, the film is distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures worldwide.[1]


The ever-glamorous and self-indulgent Edina and Patsy are now in their 60s, and Edina is still running her PR agency, which is quickly running out of money and interest. The duo realise that Edina needs a miracle to save her PR company and renew her reputation.

Bubble wakes up a hungover Edina, who has come home from a fashion event. Edina realises that she signs a deal for an autobiography that day. Edina wakes Patsy up and tells her about her book, and how it will be "made into a film because it's about her life", while Patsy self-applies Botox. The company head, (Mark Gatiss) rejects Edina's book because it is lazily written and there is little interest in Edina's PR agency. While Patsy is setting up designer Huki Muki's fashion event, Patsy learns that supermodel Kate Moss is changing her PR, and immediately informs Edina. Patsy phones while Edina is at a PR meeting with rival PR Claudia Bing (Celia Imrie) and during the phone call with Patsy she accidentally leaves her phone on "speaker" and Claudia learns that Kate Moss needs a new PR.

Edina and Patsy go to the fashion event with Edina's granddaughter Lola while Saffron "Saffy" Monsoon, Edina's daughter and Lola's mother, has a night out with her new boyfriend Nick (Robert Webb). Edina finds Kate Moss on the balcony overlooking the Thames. As she moves to speak to her, she notices that Claudia is also heading for her. Rushing to get to Kate first, Edina accidentally bumps into her and she falls off the balcony and into the river. Among the witnesses is Lulu, who is already at odds with Edina over missed singing engagements.

Hysteria pervades the event as Kate is presumed dead. The media immediately storm the scene to report her disappearance and assumed death. Edina and Patsy, along with Lola, are taken into police custody. Saffy arrives to see them and make sure Lola is all right in company with Nick, who is revealed to be a police detective.

Edina returns home the next day. Patsy arrives angry. She's been fired from her job because of her association with Edina and the previous night's events. The pair make up and return to the Thames to look for Kate, using Bubble with a flashing beacon upon her head to simulate and retrace how Moss may have been carried away, but the beacon comes loose and unable to find Bubble, they presume her dead, too. They decide to flee before the media firestorm gets worse, taking Lola and her credit card along. The three land in Cannes while Saffy desperately searches for Lola or clues to her whereabouts back in London, finally consulting Christopher (Chris Colfer), Edina's friend and stylist.

In Cannes, Edina and Patsy call upon Patsy's ex-lover, billionaire Charlie (Barry Humphries). After Charlie rejects them, they seek help from Edina's mother (June Whitfield), who is celebrating her cousin Violet's birthday. During this party, they encounter the richest woman in the world. To attract the woman and get quick money, Patsy quickly changes her identity to a male alter-ego, "Pat" Stone. The following day, Patsy marries the rich woman and Edina and Patsy find the wealth they were looking for as they stay in a high-class hotel with Dame Joan Collins and Dame Edna Everage as fellow guests.

Meanwhile, Edina and Patsy are seen in public by Emma Bunton who tells Lulu about their whereabouts. Saffy arrives in Cannes with Nick and immediately heads to the hotel to find Lola. Lola is with Emma who tells Saffy of Edina's whereabouts, even though it is the least of Saffy's concerns. Lulu flies out to Cannes and meets with Bubble, who reveals that Kate just swam off and did not drown in the Thames. Bubble also reveals that she is also a millionaire and owns a massive Cannes pavilion because she has had control of Edina's accounts for years, and has been embezzling from the company.

Lulu reports Edina and Patsy's whereabouts to the police, since her only desire is to destroy Edina for what she has done. The police find Edina and Patsy and chase them through the town, the duo escaping in a small three-wheeled fish-market van. As they reach Bubble's pavilion, the van's brakes fail and they roll backwards and fall into an infinity pool attached to Bubble's house. Saffy arrives at the scene to find Edina and Patsy slowly sinking into the pool, still inside the van. Edina apologises to Saffy for being a careless mother and wishes to drown in the pool, and to finally embrace the fact that she is old and can't run from justice forever. Saffy tells her that she loves her. Bubble reveals that Kate Moss didn't drown in the Thames, and Edina immediately exits the van, realising she's innocent.

A montage plays of countries celebrating that Kate Moss is still alive and that Edina is her new PR. Edina's PR agency is renewed, and Kate is in even more demand now that she has been found. The film finishes with Patsy revealing to her rich wife that she isn't actually a man called "Pat" and is really a woman. Her wife reveals that she is actually a man and the film closes with the series's popular theme song, "This Wheel's on Fire" sung by Kylie Minogue.


Celebrity cameos

Multiple celebrity cameo appearances in the film were announced over the course of filming.[5][6][9][10][11][12][13] In April 2016, Fox and the BBC confirmed a list of 60 cameos, most of which had not yet been announced, that would be featured in the film.[14][15] They include:

About 90 drag queens appeared in the film, including Daniel Lismore, The Vivienne and Charlie Hides.



Saunders wrote and starred in Absolutely Fabulous, a British television sitcom for the BBC, which originally ran for three series from 1992 to 1995, with intermittent additional series and specials until 2012.[16][17] Absolutely Fabulous features the champagne-fueled duo of "international PR guru" Edina Monsoon (Saunders) and "sex-crazed magazine editor" Patsy Stone (Lumley).[16] Additional characters include Edina's overly serious daughter Saffron (Sawalha), her daffy mother (Whitfield) and her even daffier assistant Bubble (Horrocks).[18]


Saunders planned to begin writing a film version of the series in 2012 and confirmed that she had begun the writing process in 2014.

Deadline Hollywood broke the story in November 2011 that Saunders planned to begin writing a film version of the series in 2012.[16] The film would begin with Edina and Patsy waking up hungover after a party on an oligarch's yacht, with everyone else gone and the boat somewhere the middle of the ocean.[16][19] Saunders later said that she hoped to shoot the film on the French Riviera.[20] In March 2012, Saunders confirmed that she was working on the script.[21] She said of the plot:

Eddy and Patsy are looking for what they imagine glamorous life should be. They're constantly searching for that perfect place to sit or that perfect pair of sunglasses. It's Shangri-La and it just might be round the next corner. In the meantime, they decide to take Saffy's daughter off her—she calls her Jane, I call her Lola—but then they lose her.[21]

Calling herself the "worst procrastinator in the world",[22] Saunders said in January 2014:

Yes, well I have to do it now because I've threatened to a lot ... And then she [Lumley] kept announcing it and saying, "Yes, she's going to do it," and then Dawn French on our radio show at Christmas said, "I bet £100,000 that you don't write it," so now I have to write it, otherwise I have to pay her £100,000 ... Once you've had a bit of success, the last thing you want to do is go and make a flop. So the biggest fear in me is that it won't be good enough. I'm really nervous about it.[22]

In April 2014, Saunders again confirmed on BBC Breakfast that she was in the process of writing the film.[23] In April 2015, Saunders explained her delay with the script, saying "I think that's why I didn't do it for a while ... I thought, 'Wouldn't it be awful if it was awful.'"[24] She then quipped, "but we're all so old, and Joanna [Lumley] said to me, 'Do it before we die!' We're all on the brink."[24] Saunders also noted, "[The film] involves all the main characters and virtually everyone that's ever been in the series—all those characters".[24] Lumley confirmed in July 2015 that the film's script was finished and that production would begin in October.[25] She said of the project, "We are all there, the same old gang ... It is going to be ravishingly funny! Very gorgeous ... and completely fabulous!"[25]

Production and filming

In August 2015, Deadline.com reported that "all of the original main cast" were confirmed, with Fox Searchlight Pictures in negotiations to co-finance and co-produce the film with BBC Films, and to handle worldwide distribution.[26] It was also announced that Mandie Fletcher would direct, with Jon Plowman and Damian Jones as producers and Saunders, French and Maureen Vincent as executive producers.[26] Deadline.com later reported that Christine Langan, Steve Milne, Christian Eisenbeiss and Nichola Martin were also executive producing, with DanTram Nguyen, Vice President of Production and Katie Goodson-Thomas, Director of Production overseeing the project for Fox .[27]

Principal photography began on 12 October 2015 in south of France.[26][28] The BBC and Fox Searchlight subsequently released a promotional image of Saunders and Lumley in character on a yacht.[27] Along with Sawalha, Whitfield and Horrocks,[5] Kathy Burke was confirmed to be reprising her role as Magda,[7] and Kate Moss, Emma Bunton and Lulu would appear in guest roles as themselves, as they had in the TV series.[5] The cameo appearances of Harry Styles, Kelly Hoppen and Kim Kardashian were also announced as filming began.[5] Multiple other celebrity cameos were announced during production,[5][6][9][10][11][12][13] culminating with a 60-name list released in April 2016.[14][15]

Deadline.com's Ali Jaafar wrote of the film's plot in October 2015:

Edina and Patsy are still oozing glitz and glamour, living the high life they are accustomed to; shopping, drinking and clubbing their way around London’s trendiest hotspots. Blamed for a major incident at an uber fashionable launch party, they become entangled in a media storm and are relentlessly pursued by the paparazzi. Fleeing penniless to the glamorous playground of the super-rich, the French Riviera, they hatch a plan to make their escape permanent and live the high life forevermore![27]


In December 2015, the film sparked controversy and accusations of racism when it was announced that Caucasian comedienne Janette Tough would be playing a Japanese character named Huki Muki.[29][30] Korean American comedian Margaret Cho accused Ab Fab: The Movie of "yellowface", which she described as "when white people portray Asian people. And unfortunately it's happening in this film."[29] Upon release of the film it became apparent that the character was not, in fact, Japanese but Scottish. When asked about the controversy, Saunders replied "the whole film is about people being what they're not, Huki Muki is a brand, she is the designer and she looks a bit Japanese, but the moment she opens her mouth she's from Glasgow. There's no yellow makeup..."[31]


Australian singer Kylie Minogue recorded and released a promotional single, a cover of the series' theme song "This Wheel's on Fire", as the official theme for the film.[32] This new rendition, produced by Richard Stannard and Ash Howes, was released on 10 June 2016.[33] The soundtrack, which also includes songs from Paloma Faith (whose "Ready for the Good Life" appears in the film's trailer), La Roux, Jason Derulo, Eartha Kitt, Nancy Sinatra, Santigold and others, was released on 22 July 2016 via Rhino Records.[34] It debuted at number 38 on the ARIA Albums Chart in Australia on 6 August.[35]


The film was released in the United Kingdom on 1 July 2016[1] and was released in the UK on Blu-ray and DVD on 5 December 2016.[36]


Box office

As of 14 February 2017, Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie has grossed $37.9 million worldwide, including $19.5 million in the United Kingdom, $4.7 million in the United States, under very limited release, and $6.2 million in Australia. It was also released in Finland, Ireland, Norway, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, New Zealand and the Netherlands.[3]

Critical response

On review aggregator Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 58% based on 149 reviews; the average rating is 5.52/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie picks up pretty much where its source material left off, delivering an adaptation that, as fans of this British export might say, does what it says on the tin."[37] On Metacritic, the film has a score of 59 out of 100 based on 35 critics, indicating "mixed or average reviews".[38]

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominee(s) Result
2017 Diversity in Media Awards Movie of the Year Nominated

Cancelled sequel

Saunders has hinted that a sequel had been considered if the film performs well at the box office.[39] However, on 28 November 2016, Saunders confirmed that she "was done with Absolutely Fabulous" and it would not be returning to television for another series, or specials, nor would a film sequel be made. Saunders now wishes to focus on new projects and spend more time with her family.[40]


  1. ^ a b c Panisch, Alex (10 December 2015). "Jennifer Saunders Confirms Ab Fab Movie Release Date, Plot Details". Out. Retrieved 13 December 2015.
  2. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (15)". British Board of Film Classification. 23 June 2016. Retrieved 21 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 27 September 2016.
  4. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous The Movie London Premiere". Ikon London Magazine. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2018.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Percival, Ashley (19 October 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous: Jennifer Saunders And Joanna Lumley Begin Shooting For New Film As Eddie Monsoon And Patsy Stone". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  6. ^ a b c d Wong, Curtis M (23 November 2015). "Chris Colfer Lands A Role in Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie". The Huffington Post. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  7. ^ a b Warner, Sam (12 October 2015). "Kathy Burke is back as Magda in the Absolutely Fabulous movie". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  8. ^ a b c "Jimmy Krankie to star with Jerry Hall and Lily Cole in new Absolutely Fabulous movie". Daily Mirror. 14 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  9. ^ a b c "Joan Collins's diary: 'I'm in deep shock at Jackie's death, but life goes on'". The Spectator. 7 November 2015. Archived from the original on 27 November 2015. Retrieved 23 November 2015.
  10. ^ a b c "Rylan Clark-Neal". Twitter. 1 December 2015. Retrieved 2 December 2015.
  11. ^ a b Miller, Michael (2 December 2015). "Rebel Wilson Shares Pics of Her Absolutely Fabulous Time on the Set of Upcoming Movie". People. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  12. ^ a b c Sowray, Bibby (6 November 2015). "Kate Moss meets a watery end in Ab Fab: The Movie". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Sowray, Bibby (1 December 2015). "Cara Delevingne joins Kate Moss and Stella McCartney in Ab Fab: The Movie". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 3 December 2015.
  14. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay Stolworthy, Jacob (25 April 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie will have a ridiculous number of cameos". The Independent. Retrieved 25 April 2016.
  15. ^ a b c d e f Stolworthy, Jacob (27 April 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous film trailer shows off its many cameos, from Kate Moss to Jon Hamm". The Independent. Retrieved 27 April 2016.
  16. ^ a b c d Adler, Tim (8 November 2011). "Jennifer Saunders To Pen Absolutely Fabulous Movie". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  17. ^ Sperling, Daniel; Mansell, Tom (15 May 2012). "Absolutely Fabulous Joanna Lumley teases Olympic special". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  18. ^ Emery, Debbie (29 April 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous Officially Heading to the Big Screen". TheWrap. Retrieved 20 October 2015.
  19. ^ Child, Ben (9 November 2011). "Jennifer Saunders to write Absolutely Fabulous movie". The Guardian. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  20. ^ Bolonik, Kera (29 December 2011). "Still Ab Fab: Jennifer Saunders". New York. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  21. ^ a b "Saunders excited about Ab Fab film". Irish Independent. 26 March 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  22. ^ a b Martin, Liam (4 January 2014). "Jennifer Saunders will write Absolutely Fabulous movie". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  23. ^ "BBC Breakfast". Facebook. 11 April 2014. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  24. ^ a b c Lee, Ben (29 April 2015). "Jennifer Saunders on Absolutely Fabulous movie: 'We might shoot in the autumn'". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  25. ^ a b Reynolds, Simon (29 July 2015). "Sweetie darling, we're going to the movies! Joanna Lumley confirms Absolutely Fabulous film". Digital Spy. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  26. ^ a b c Jaafar, Ali (11 August 2015). "Fox Searchlight In Discussions For Absolutely Fabulous Feature Film With Original Cast". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  27. ^ a b c Jaafar, Ali (19 October 2015). "First Look: Absolutely Fabulous Feature Film Starts Shooting". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  28. ^ "On the Set for 10/16/15: Ab Fab: The Movie & Planet of the Apes Sequel Start Shooting While Star Trek Beyond Wraps". SSN Insider. 16 October 2015. Archived from the original on 13 June 2017. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
  29. ^ a b Blumsom, Amy (16 December 2015). "Ab Fab movie accused of racism". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  30. ^ Lydia Smith (16 December 2015). "Absolutely Fabulous movie and yellowface: Why offensive racial stereotyping still blights Hollywood". International Business Times UK. Retrieved 24 December 2015.
  31. ^ Denham, Jess (30 June 2016). "Absolutely Fabulous: Jennifer Saunders dismisses yellowface accusations as 'ridiculous nonsense'". The Independent. Independent Print Ltd. Retrieved 5 August 2016.
  32. ^ "iTunes - Music - This Wheel's on Fire (From "Absolutely Fabulous") - Single by Kylie Minogue". iTunes. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  33. ^ Kylie Minogue - Topic (9 June 2016). "This Wheel's on Fire" – via YouTube.
  34. ^ "iTunes - Music - Absolutely Fabulous (The Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)". iTunes. 22 July 2016. Retrieved 27 June 2016.
  35. ^ "ARIA Australian Top 50 Albums". Australian Recording Industry Association. 8 August 2016. Retrieved 6 August 2016.
  36. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous The Movie [DVD]". Amazon.com. Retrieved 8 November 2016.
  37. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie (2016)". Rotten Tomatoes.
  38. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie reviews". Metacritic. Retrieved 18 July 2016.
  39. ^ "Absolutely Fabulous: The Sequel". Huffington Post. 30 June 2016. Retrieved 18 July 2016.[permanent dead link]
  40. ^ Fullerton, Huw (29 November 2016). "Jennifer Saunders says there'll be no more Absolutely Fabulous: "That. Is. It."". Radio Times. Retrieved 4 December 2016.

External links