One man’s trade becomes another man’s adventure in Kinky Boots, a clever, funny, heartwarming film starring Chiwetel Ejiofor (Dirty Pretty Things) as the prominent wearer of the film’s titular boots.

Based on a true story, Kinky Boots centers around the ups and downs of Price & Sons shoe factory in the industrial town of Northampton, England. The soon-to-be-married Charlie Price (Joel Edgerton of Star Wars: Episode III) thinks that he’s finally escaped the town and the business, looking to live in hipper London with his fiancée, Nicola (Jemima Rooper).

Things couldn’t be farther from the truth, though, as Charlie soon receives a phone call informing him that his father – and owner of Price & Sons, which is known for making quality oxfords – has passed away. This means that Charlie, much to the dismay of his fiancée, must travel back to Northampton and figure out a future for his father’s ailing shoe factory.

After going through his father’s papers and laying-off quite a few of the factory’s workers, something interesting happens to Charlie. In London on business, Charlie accidentally makes the acquaintance of Lola (Ejiofor), a tall, burly transvestite entertainer who runs a hot cabaret in the city’s eclectic SoHo neighborhood. Charlie is oddly taken in by Lola’s personality, and also informed that the heels of her platform boots often break because they aren’t able to carry a man’s weight.

Lola’s passing comment about her shoes plants a seed in Charlie’s head. With the encouragement of one his employees (Sarah-Jane Potts), Charlie designs a sturdy boot for Lola, in hopes of developing a “niche” market for Price & Sons. Lola is appalled at the sight of the boots, and decides to pay a visit to Charlie in Northampton and help him design a line of sexy, kinky boots for transvestites and cross-dressers. As Lola says, the boots being designed should be two-and-a-half feet of hot, tubular sex.

Lola’s comment is well-representative of her personality: brash, outgoing and driven to inspire people to change their perceptions. She forms a fast, albeit quirky friendship with Charlie, who must convince the workers in his factory that their new task – designing and constructing a line of transvestite boots and shoes to debut on the runways in Milan – is worth their time.

Overall, the film, from first-time feature director Julian Jarrold, is a fun, heartwarming experience that preaches diversity and acceptance. Through the world of shoemaking in England, two very different people become close friends, and inspire the best in one another. The performances, especially that by Ejiofor as Lola, are noteworthy; and the film uses a clever combination of wit, comedy and sincerity to its advantage.