Friday, March 4, 2011

Boys don't cry

I liked Hilary Swank a lot in Million Dollar Baby, and it is completely randomly, thanks to Amazon’s suggestions, that I came across Boys don’t cry, the movie that brought her to fame, and for which she got an Oscar in 2000 (and subsequently for Million Dollar Baby).

It was released in 1999 and also stars Chloë Sevigny and Peter Saasgard. The film is based on the true story of Teena Brandon, a 19-yr old who lived life as a male until it was discovered he was biologically female. Brandon starts a relationship with Lena (Sevigny) but is raped and murdered by Lena’s ex after they discover her identity.


It’s not a happy movie, it deals with the issues and questions of identity, courage and freedom, but is not biased or compassionate – it is cold and blunt, and the atmosphere is tense and heavy. I did not know the story beforehand so of course, being me, I expected a happy ending. Well, maybe for the next one! Swank’s acting is extraordinary and extremely credible ; contrary to the consensus opinion, I was not overly impressed by Chloë Sevigny and I have difficulties judging her performance, although after seeing her in every magazine as a fashion icon as well as an actress, I was happy to see her in a movie – I thought she was the Anna Kournikova of actors (ie pretending to play but really only appearing in tabloids, sorry….). That said, she is apparently know in independent cinema circles, and I have to admit that has not been my main area of focus over the past years. Or ever, for that matter!

All characters seemed confused, lost, almost desperate to me, with no way out and no hope. Except Brandon, before his life is brutally stopped.

So, to hide behind opinions that may be worth more, Variety Magazine called the acting "flawless" and acknowledged that the "stunningly accomplished" and "candid" film could be "seen as a Rebel without a cause for these culturally diverse and complex times, with the two misfit girls enacting a version of the James Dean - Natalie Wood romance with utmost conviction, searching, like their '50s counterparts, for love, self-worth and a place to call home”.

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