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Top Customer Reviews
To say that this comes as a shock to everyone is an understatement. Roy is the foreman at a plant that manufactures tractors and a pillar of his church. He is also married to Irma, who, like the actress who plays her, has gotten sexier as she has gotten older. When the church throws an anniversary party for the couple Roy kisses his wife and faints. In a counseling session with their pastor (Randall Arney), Roy finally confesses that he is a woman. The fact that Roy says this in such a matter of fact manner, without the slightest trace of any affectation that would suggest being gay, is what makes "Normal" such an offbeat look at a somewhat offbeat subject.
This is not a sensationalistic treatment of the transgender topic (remember the lurid film "The Christina Jorgenson Story"?). The script is clearly sympathetic, but also manages to tell the story with a wry sensibility and to reach a level of depth that we usually do not find in such films, which tend to veer towards sensationalism and/or melodrama. This is because despite the fact that Roy starts taking female hormones so that he can grow breasts he still loves his wife.Read more ›
As Roy, the catalyst for all this family trauma, Tom Wilkinson has more of a one-note performance; it seems that having made up his mind, despite 50-odd years of cultural conditioning to the contrary, Roy never looks back or even feels a twinge of doubt or regret over what he's about to do. We feel sympathy for Roy, but not nearly as much as we do for his wife, if only because we don't feel we know him as well.Read more ›
In presenting the gender transition of a middle-aged man in a small, conservative farming community, this film has an odd omission. As an earlier reviewer pointed out, Roy/Ruth is able to go through hormone therapy and to get Sexual Reassignment Surgery without the film ever showing how. This is more than just a technicality. To get HRT, one needs a prescription. Most endocrinologists who work with TG people work as much on the emotional side of the issues as they do on the physical. To get SRS, one must have letters from two therapists. Roy faces some incredibly difficult issues in this film. He also makes some very dangerous choices, such as wearing perfume and earrings to work before having disclosed his transition. In real life, the therapist would be working with Ruth on all of these things. It almost feels as though a decision was made after shooting to edit out all of the scenes in which Ruth interacts with her doctor and her therapist.
This does have the effect of focusing on the real drama, the evolving relationships within the family. But it makes the film feel somehow unreal and misguided.
Other than that, as several reviewers have mentioned, the acceptance of the community as depicted is extremely optimistic.
For all that, this film nailed it. A couple I know invited me over to watch movies with them one night, and popped this one into the VCR. Halfway into the film, I broke down weeping and had to leave. As a TG woman myself, this film captured the truth of what happens, of the emotions and changes, as accurately as anything I've ever seen. The humanity of this movie, in how it depicts all of the family members, is stunning.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Interesting story with great performances. One of my favorite films.Published 4 months ago by Kykuit100
I absolutely love this made for TV movie. Jessica Lange is amazing as always. It is a strange story, and it tends to make men cringe. Read morePublished 6 months ago by BrendaH
Although somewhat outdated, it is current in its transgender theme. Tom Wilkinson delivers a sensitive performance, and Jessica Lange perseveres as the ever-loving wife. Read morePublished 7 months ago by liberty
A provocative and tasteful treatment of a delicate subject. Superb acting, along with a compelling story.Published 11 months ago by willijt
I didn't know what it was about or would not have not purchased this movie.Published 12 months ago by Amy
Very nice and somewhat philosophical and psychological movie depicting complex and uneasy relationship in a family where Husband and father founds himself a transgender... Read morePublished 14 months ago by Alexandra