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Boys Don't Cry (1999)

Hilary Swank , ChloŽ Sevigny , Kimberly Peirce  |  R |  DVD
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)

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Product Details

  • Actors: Hilary Swank, ChloŽ Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson
  • Directors: Kimberly Peirce
  • Writers: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen
  • Producers: Bradford Simpson, Caroline Kaplan, Christine Vachon, Eva Kolodner, Jeff Sharp
  • Format: Multiple Formats, Closed-captioned, Color, Dolby, NTSC, Subtitled, Widescreen
  • Language: English (Dolby Surround), French (Dolby Digital 5.1), Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish
  • Dubbed: English
  • Region: Region 1 (U.S. and Canada only. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Rated: R (Restricted)
  • Studio: Fox Searchlight Pictures
  • DVD Release Date: October 13, 2009
  • Run Time: 118 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (442 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00003CWN3
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #21,578 in Movies & TV (See Top 100 in Movies & TV)
  • Learn more about "Boys Don't Cry" on IMDb

Special Features

  • Featurette

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

When Brandon Teena, a young man with an infectious, aw-shucks grin and an angelic face that's all angles, wanders into Falls City, Nebraska, he takes to the town like it's a second skin. In little time he's fallen in with a gang of goofy if temperamental redneck boys, found himself a girlfriend, and befriended enough people to form something of a small family. In fact, it's the best time Brandon's ever had. However, there are shadows looming over Brandon's life: a court date for grand theft auto, a checkered criminal record, and a seemingly innocuous speeding ticket that could prove to be his undoing. Why? Because as it turns out, Brandon Teena is actually Teena Brandon, a woman masquerading as a man.

This fascinating story was based on real-life events (as documented in The Brandon Teena Story) that occurred in 1993 and ended in tragedy: Brandon's rape and murder by two of his supposed friends. Despite this horrible outcome, however, in the hands of director Kimberly Peirce (who cowrote the unfettered screenplay with Andy Bienen), Brandon's story becomes not oppressive or preachy, but rather oddly and touchingly transcendent, anchored by Hilary Swank's phenomenal, unsentimental performance. Swank inhabits Brandon's contradictions and passions with a natural vitality most actresses would refuse to give themselves over to. Brandon's deception is doomed from the start, but Swank's enthusiasm is infectious, and when Brandon starts romancing the sloe-eyed Lana (a pitch-perfect Chloë Sevigny), he finds a soul mate who wants to transcend boundaries and fated identities as much as he does. The last part of the film, when Brandon's true identity is discovered, is truly painful to watch, but in between the agony there are touching moments of sweetness between Brandon and Lana, who wrestles with the truth of who Brandon actually is. You'll come away from Boys Don't Cry with affection and respect for Brandon, not pity. --Mark Englehart

Product Description

A true story about hope, fear, and the courage it takes to be yourself, "Boys Don't Cry" is "One of the 10 best films of 1999" (National Board of Review). Critically acclaimed and nominated for two Golden Globe Awards, this four-star, "must-see" (People), "riveting" (Enterainment Weekly) drama features incredible performances by newcomers Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
59 of 63 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Courageous, Intense, Devastating March 28, 2000
Format:VHS Tape
Congratulations to the filmmakers and financiers of this bold film, and also to the Academy for giving it prominence.
"Boys Don't Cry" succeeds as a portrait not only of a sexual identity crisis but simply as a portrait of one woman's compassion (Chloe Sevigny) for another human being--it succeeds where "My Own Private Idaho" failed because "Boys" is an aesthetically cohesive work of art. Director Kimberly Pierce is astonishly gifted. Her attention to detail, composition, and her ability to use locations and static objects as metaphors for what is transpiring in the minds and lives her her characters is remarkable. The editing is also another noteworthy feature (although the use of flashbacks in Act III is unnecessary and detracts from one of the film's most powerful scenes).
Although Hilary Swank is undeniably amazing, it is the character played by Chloe Sevingny that gives this film its emotional resonance. Her role is not a supporting role but a lead role--in fact she is technically the protagonist (undergoes classic character change)and has nearly as much screen time as Swank. Sevingny's performance is absolutely brilliant.
One warning: I walked into this film unaware of how disturbing it would be and was blindsided. This is a gritty, no holds barred film about a sensitive subject.
Although I doubt this was Kimberly Pierce's primary intent, the film also stands as a powerful argument in favor of hate crime legislation. There is an emotional plea for tolerance at the core of this movie, and people on the political fence may find that this film moves them in the direction of conceding that hate crimes comprise a separate category.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Heart Shattering Masterpiece April 19, 2000
Format:DVD
Having just seen the film, I have to say "Boys Don't Cry" is one of the most amazing films I've ever seen. Swank's performance could have gone horribly wrong, and yet she kept the tour de force up for the entire two hours of this mesmerizing film. What I liked about it was:
1. The direction: Remember, this is a first film. Kimberly Pierce had worked five years to bring her script to the screen, and does so in a refreshing, UNPRETENTIOUS way I really related to. Like "In Cold Blood" and "Badlands" she focused on the life of these midwestern characters in such a genuine way that I wouldn't be surprised how people might not be blown away by it. In fact, it is a SUBTLE approach that I find more effective in films, I'm all for special effects as in "The Matrix" and the aesthetic elements of say, "American Beauty," but Pierce's ear for dialogue and her vision of Falls City as this vast wasteland where young people don't have much of a future and are filled up with frustrations was inspiring. She told a HUMAN INTEREST STORY against BIGOTRY in such a DECENT way that even the VILLAINS came out as being all too human. The narrative structure, while not flashy, was quite complex and hard to get away with. There was a flow to the film that gave it the heart that was needed to accurately represent the characters. It's a SHAME that Pierce fell to the wayside in the awards season--simplicity seems to be overlooked because most people don't realize that attaining such an ability is the hardest thing in the world.
2. The acting: Hilary WAS a boy. Her movements, her countenace, everything. Our complicity with her character made me realize just how strong a performance she gave.
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80 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sometimes they do October 11, 2004
Format:VHS Tape
This movie really made me think about sexual differences and what it means to have a sex change or to want one, or to be trapped in a gender you don't want. It was very effective to have us see Hilary Swank (who plays Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon) with short hair and male facial expressions and gestures without giving us a glimpse of her as Teena. (Actually we did get a brief glimpse in a photo.) Swank looks like a boy, acts like a boy, in fact works hard to be a boy; indeed that is (sadly) part of what this movie is about, what it means to be a boy in middle America as opposed to being a girl. And then when we have the scene with the tampons and the breast wrapping and we see her legs, the effect is startling, an effect possibly lost on those who knew that the person playing Brandon was a woman. It was when I saw her legs and could tell at a glance that she was a woman with a woman's legs that I realized just how subtle, but unmistakable are the anatomical sexual differences, and how convincing Swank's portrayal was.

I was reminded as I watched this of being a young person, of being a teenager and going through all the rituals and rites, unspoken, unplanned, without social sanction, that we all go through to prove our identity, because that is what Brandon was so eager to do, to prove his identity as a boy. I thought, ah such an advantage he has with the girls because he knows what they like and what they want. He can be smooth, and how pretty he looks. It was strange. I actually knew some guys in my youth who had such talent, and the girls did love them.
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