Friday, 21 August 2009

Friday's Forgotten Movie: BOY'S DON'T CRY

How can a 1999 film with a BAFTA and Oscar winning performance be considered forgotten?
Well, I guess, maybe it's because it is one those movies that hardly gets a mention.
This independant, low budget movie that was directed by Kimberley Pierce who co-wrote the script with Andy Bienen did provide an award winning performance from Hilary Swank as well as nominations for best supporting actress for her co-star, Chloe Lavigny.
The film is based on the true story of Brandon Teena who was raped and murdered in 1993.
The problem was that Brandon was born with female organs but felt that he should have been born a man. He gets involved in a bar fight over a girl he has beeen seeing and because his cousin doesn't want to be involved he evicts Brandon from the trailer that he shares.
He turns up in Falls City, Nebraska where he becomes friends with two ex-cons, John Lotter and Tom Nissen, and their circle of friends which includes Lana Tisdel. It is not long before Brandon feels that he is a part of a 'family'. A close relationship develops between Brandon and Lana.
However the past catches up with Brandon and he is arrested and placed in the women's section of the Falls City Prison from where Lana bails him out. Curious as to why Brandon was in a women's prison he explains that he is a hermaphrodite awaiting a sex change. Lana accepts him for who he is and tells him that she loves him for who he is and not for what he is.
Nor is it long before Lotter and Nissen discover Brandon's true identity.
Hilary Swank does such a good job with this role that it becomes easy to forget that she is female. In fact both leads do such a good job that the viewer is drawn into the intensity of the tragic story. And Kimberley Pierce brings out strong performances from all the players.
Although this film was nominated as Best Motion Picture 'Boy's Don't Cry' picked up nothing but in my considered opinion it should have.
Maybe, I should have chosen the 1999 Oscar winning movie because I can't remember what it was.


  1. I guess one of the reasons it's gone below the radar is because of the subject matter and because of the extreme brutality of some of the scenes. More than I could handle, I have to say. I think this is one of the finer movies to come out of the late 90s, and it also was one of the first movies in which I saw Peter Sarsgaard who played John. He is another brilliant actor in this fine cast.

  2. Hilary Swank is an awesome talent. Must be honest - I've not see this but I plan to remedy that pretty damn soon.

  3. Alan Ball's AMERICAN BEAUTY, a more plastic film in every way, was the best picture winner that year, and dominated the other awards.

  4. Laurie - a very violent ending. But I found the whole film very involving.

    Archavist - be interested in your thoughts once you've seen it.

    Todd - Kevin Spacey movie? I think I switched that one off halfway through. I wonder if, in hindsight, anyone thinks that they voted for the wrong movie.

  5. I watched this on DVD a few years back. It was a very powerful movie and stays in the mind. Possibly it's forgotten -- or just quietly pushed into a dark corner -- because certain people have decided such things should never be, and everyone else, like them, should therefore pretend they never have been.

  6. a cool version of boys don't cry by laurent vo anh