Boys Don’t Cry. Well let me tell you, I was stifling tears.
Boys Don’t Cry gives a biographical account on Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank), a young transgender guy pushing the boundaries in the early 90s. It tells the story of the fun he has and trouble he lands himself in after adventuring to Nebraska to escape from the law in his hometown.
This movie is one of the first in its kind, depicting a female-to-male character as the main lead. It shows the real life struggle that some transgender people often have to face, especially in a time period when many people were not even accepting of gay people. You see him struggle with the dislike he has toward his body, his attempts to appear more masculine and just trying to fit in as one of the guys around him.
Hilary Swank plays the role of Brandon extremely well, she handles the part with sensitivity, and it is easy to forget that she is not actually a teenage boy. While filming Hilary Swank had to live her day to life looking like Brandon, so it is hardly surprising that her neighbor assumed it was her teenage son coming and going from the house rather than her. In the movie Swank portrays the unease and awkwardness of someone not feeling at home in their own body, while giving Brandon a cheeky charm about him.
During the movie you find yourself rooting for Brandon, and hoping he doesn’t get found out about being born female, but there is a sense of foreboding throughout. You are just waiting for it to happen and what will happen to him. At times you might think, ‘Oh no, what are you doing? Just go home. Don’t get into a relationship with a girl – you are bound to get found out.’ But you have to bear in mind he was young and human. It’s only natural that he wanted those experiences.
It isn’t the first time I have watched this movie, but it is the first time I made it to the end. The first time I attempted to watch it, I had to stop. Not because it wasn’t a good movie, I think it tells the story well and I like the way it was shot. However, if you have watched the movie you will know the scenes I’m talking about, the bathroom, and car scene that follow, were too much for me. I will add now that this is the point in which I would like to apologize to the people sitting behind me in the cinema as I was sniffling as the tears rolled down my face.
If you liked: Dallas Buyers Club, Tomboy, or are specifically looking for a LGBT themed movie then this is for you. Although, if you are prone to crying at movies – have some tissues at hand.
*I have referred to Brandon Teena throughout this review as Brandon and with male pronouns, ‘he’, as he was a real person and it is how he wanted to be known.