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Boys Don't Cry
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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
Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
"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.
It's too bad that Kimberly Peirce was not nominated for an Academy Award for her direction. The film is EXCELLENT!
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.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This film was ahead of its time in that it tackled transgender issues. However, there was too much violence and not enough about the main character's feelings and her relationships... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Mike B.
Really great movie. Had to watch this for a psychology class. Surprised my the ending. Powerful story.Published 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
My mother told me to watch this after J watched Valentine Road. I really liked the movie, it's the characters that I didn't care for. Brandon was a confused person. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Kindle Customer