Boys Donít Cry is a heartbreaking story, and itís told with all the power of a sudden kick to the gut.Director Kimberley Peirce doesnít waste time questioning why Teena Brandon (Hilary Swank) felt more natural living as Brandon Teena, a man. From the opening moments weíre there in small-town Nebraska, where itís dangerous to be different. Brandon finds the acceptance heís always longed for, and a girlfriend (Chloe Sevigny in a beautiful, tender performance). But it doesnít last.
Peirce and Andy Bienen wrote the screenplay, and itís a dramatic recreation of a tragic true story. While it would be easy to criticise them for altering recent, real-life events to suit their dramatic purposes, the factual basis gives Boys Donít Cry a shocking immediacy that a fictional story might lack. Swank lived as a man in the weeks before shooting, and she acts this part from the inside (sheís not just imitating male characteristics).Ultimately, itís impossible not to be moved by Brandonís simple desire to be himself.