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Overall Rating
4.49

Awesome72.44%
Worth A Look: 13.46%
Average: 6.41%
Pretty Bad: 5.77%
Total Crap: 1.92%

12 reviews, 84 user ratings


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Boys Don't Cry
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by nostradamus

"A whitewash of reality"
3 stars

Everyone is now talking, thanks to the hype of the Oscars, about Boys Donít Cry, in particular about the "amazing" acting of Hilary Swank. According to some reviewers, Swank manages to get inside her character and bemuse us with her boy-girl/girl-boy persona of one Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena. Yet if Swank is so talented, why are we left wondering what or what made Teena want to desperately be a he, how does this fit into the context of other people who want a sex change and the dangers and dilemmas that they face, why did Teena make love to Lana so expertly if this was one of her first experiences, etc, etc. We hardly get much inkling of what Teena is feeling until the rape scene, and even then Jodie Foster was a lot better in "The Accused" in portraying an outcast suffering the effects of rape. Teena only explains that she has a 'sexual identity crisis' and that she felt like he was a man in a woman's body.

The supporting cast does its best with the material, but only Lanaís mother, Lana herself, her ex-boyfriend John, and Teenaís cousin Lonnie, manage to convey any reality to the story and the characters. In fact, if anyone should get the Oscar, it would have to ChloŽ Sevigny (Lana Tisdel), who let the viewer access her emotions and understand her wasted potential.

Yet, even with the creation of a sympathetic character of Lana, the film strays from its power of being able to make an impact. In reality, Lanaís relationship with Teena/Brandon ended when her real gender was revealed. Why did the director have to take artistic license with this fact? Why whitewash the ending as a thwarted happily ever after affair, akin to the tragedy of Romeo and Juliet, when the reality of Lanaís desertion of Teena at this crucial moment is much more powerful and less cliched in relating Teenaís tragedy? Why pander to the romantic notions of what will ultimately be a gay and bisexual audience in an attempt to gain understanding for an oddball character, when the bleak reality is more true of Teena/Brandonís experience, and perhaps of the audiencesí own?

In the end, the main memory of this film is its violence, and as typified by other recent films, such as "The Boys", a film thesis on how macho sexuality and male gender is often socialised through violence, ignorance and conformity, and how individualism is lost in the downward spiral of the need to be accepted. Peter Sarsgaard (as Lana's ex-boyfriend John) and Brendan Sexton III (as Tom), typify the desensitized violent products of this process of socialisation, exacerbated by their hopeless socio-economic situation, where real pleasure lies only in thrills, drugs and alcohol, and the destruction of others who they canít better or canít identify with.

The bleak landscape of Nebraska and the closed minds of the small town characters convey the hopelessness of their situation, which for some ends with the chance of escape, for others in a whirl of alcohol, sex and drugs, and for others in a deadened acceptance of their lot as the strangeness of escaping to new surroundings is a little too unfamiliar and unsettling.

Unfortunately, for Teena Brandon, the smalltown world of Nebraska and its homophobic inhabitants, led to a lack of acceptance and finally to events which culminated in her death. If she had been 'coming out' in a city, by comparison, her tragedy might not have been so horrific.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=2233&reviewer=144
originally posted: 04/03/00 14:45:58
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell strong but 2 brutal 3 stars
10/04/13 Trisha Wirt Very powerful movie! Hit home! 5 stars
3/01/11 Captain Slog Such a sad, sad movie 5 stars
1/23/11 PAUL SHORTT WELL MADE, DARING DRAMA WITH SOME GREAT PERFORMANCES 4 stars
12/18/08 Clara Absolutely jarring. Stunningly made. 5 stars
12/06/08 Shaun Wallner Well made. 5 stars
7/08/08 art BRILLANT,SUPERB A MIDWEST VERISON OF MYRA BRECKINRIDGE 5 stars
2/05/07 glitter girl what a powerful and sad movie... you may know someone like this and not even know it.. 5 stars
8/18/06 Lauren Absolutely fabulous. Swank and Sevigny offer stellar performances. 5 stars
4/24/06 imran reveals the issues of society Good movie 3 stars
8/24/05 Ron Patterson Absolutely Fantastic 5 stars
8/12/05 ES Couldn't care less about the characters, no redeeming qualities = blah 1 stars
3/24/05 katie wright i think lana was the master mind behind the crimes 5 stars
12/23/04 Nick Boyd Very well acted, moving story 5 stars
9/26/04 Brigitte Sad, but powerful story.Very realistic. 5 stars
9/26/04 NJ Cup Winner 95-00-03 In its own category, which, coming from me, is the highest compliment 5 stars
8/27/04 ELI ARG!!!!! It's so DEPRESSING!!!!!!!!! Good movie! 5 stars
8/04/04 Alexia Absolutely the most touching movie I've ever seen 5 stars
8/02/04 Denisia de Castro Macedo Excellent movie 5 stars
6/26/04 Eric One of the dumbest movies I have ever seen, seriously 1 stars
2/29/04 Liz The movie is very good and i like it. 5 stars
1/25/04 Elena I wish bad critics weren't allowed to post reviews! :P 5 stars
1/17/04 linda wang it's the best moving movie i've ever seen!!! 5 stars
11/24/03 Shams Huque Swank was incredible. 5 stars
11/12/03 alia i absolutly loved that film it was amasing 5 stars
6/11/03 Jareth I just can't find fault with it, one of the most powerful films I've ever seen. 5 stars
6/05/03 Charles Tatum Don't let the sleaze fool you 2 stars
3/26/03 Marcia Lartz C'mon Chris Parry, just call it awesome. Don't do it a disservice with your caustic review. 5 stars
3/19/03 Jack Sommersby Uninsightful and a bit exploitive. ChloŽ Sevigny, though, is outstanding. 2 stars
2/18/03 Pyli Amazing... i loved it, it's one of those movies that changes the way u look some things. 5 stars
12/18/02 mylen cee exeptional 5 stars
12/02/02 Bobi its cool 5 stars
11/16/02 Big Ted Swank delivers an Oscar performance that will be remembered like Streep's Sophie's Choice. 5 stars
8/19/02 willy a moving, harrowing film... cried and cried and cried 5 stars
6/02/02 sdjfsdkjf that was some fucken rape scene. Good film but never wanna see it again. 5 stars
5/12/02 Butterbean Swank's performance was outstanding. It's ending put knots in my stomach 5 stars
3/08/02 Mo Anand It was a good movie, but sad...good for indy watchers 4 stars
2/28/02 Alan Smithee Very difficult to watch at times, but well acted and extremely tragic. 4 stars
2/27/02 malcolm part II she did not deserve what happend, but the lies had to catch up. 5 stars
2/27/02 malcolm reminded me of Sling Blade. don't forget - Teena lied and stole thru the whole movie. 5 stars
9/05/01 Bada Bing Crosby I'm happy to knock the last comment off the board, people are just a-holes here 5 stars
8/28/01 Phil M. Afficianado Acting (capital A) out the shockingly sad reality of man's inhumanity to (wo)man. Stunning. 5 stars
7/30/01 Basil Sad and disturbing, Swank definitly deserved the Oscar. 5 stars
4/26/01 timmsy Sevigny carried the last 30 minutes. Should have won Oscar. 5 stars
4/18/01 looni31 Shit hot film 5 stars
3/23/01 Danyo McPee Feelings can be decieving 4 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy While Swank was excellent, it was Sevigny's performance that made the film 4 stars
2/11/01 KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi Poignant, disturbing, violent, romantic, relentlessly in your face. The way LIFE really is 5 stars
2/05/01 spunkie Most disturbing film about small town mentality since "River's Edge". Swank= WOW! 5 stars
2/01/01 Vivien Leung strange lesos 3 stars
12/24/00 Connoisseur makes me jerk off... 5 stars
11/01/00 k8e_chapstick@excite.com the most touchign ,amazing film i've ever seen. you will be a different person after wards 5 stars
10/20/00 Stunned Back Into Mikeness I really didn't wanna see this boring-looking film, but it punched me in the gut. Wow! 5 stars
10/07/00 Perverted Pixie Horrorfic cruelty. Swank broke my heart. I can't believe this was all true... 5 stars
8/29/00 Juan both actresses performed really well, swank deserves the award!! 5 stars
8/08/00 Mic You could feel the tension in the audience in the final half hour. 5 stars
7/13/00 Tom Strong performance by Chloe Sevigny. 4 stars
6/23/00 fire-n-ice great movie i hated the ending though 4 stars
5/21/00 mellemel Good acting by Swank, but there's a reason why the movie wasn't nominated. 2 stars
5/15/00 Tracy The toothy Hilary Swank certain out acted anything Ice Princess Paltrow has coughed up. 5 stars
5/15/00 The Bomb 69 great performances all around, tough movie to watch 5 stars
5/15/00 Chrissy T Hilary looks great as a man, and her acting is first rate. Chloe always impresses me. 5 stars
4/10/00 Ernie Levesque This movie is wonderful and funny and uplifting and so heartbreakingly tragic. 5 stars
4/05/00 PJ What a draining movie, I have to say Hillary Swank gave one of the best performances ever 5 stars
4/02/00 Asun Espes The best movie of the year 5 stars
3/25/00 Robert P Gray Honest and brilliantly acted 5 stars
3/16/00 Justine Briggs The movie is tough to watch but you can't help but be in awe of Hillary Swanks performance 4 stars
3/08/00 Booyah! Amazing film. Did not expect to be so moved. 5 stars
3/06/00 John Baranyai Tjis movie is a must-see. Hilary swank is unbelievably good. Go see for yourself. 5 stars
3/03/00 Pix very affecting 5 stars
3/01/00 Matthew Smith Hiliary swank's magnificent performance has oscar written all over it. 5 stars
2/22/00 Bozo Swank will win Actress Oscar, she's great, Hunt & Paltrow before her SUCKED 5 stars
2/11/00 Victor Ramirez depressing. Beautiful. 5 stars
2/09/00 Jess Bennett Goddamn this movie is great. Its very disturbing and every actor involved is so real. 5 stars
1/01/00 jenn "Blu Smrf" this is an amazing film considering the issue that was dealt with, very well done! 5 stars
12/29/99 Malbert Hillary Swank was very good, it was a disturbing movie 4 stars
11/28/99 Kate Badger very well done film....best this year 5 stars
11/16/99 Bearpaw Very hard, very good film 5 stars
11/15/99 joefire, himself The movie actually wasn't bad -- however it was disturbing and the characters were pathetic 3 stars
11/15/99 Heather Great performance from Hilary Swank, but was annoyed by the white trash characters 5 stars
11/15/99 Ellen Dickson amazing and powerful, the performances were the best I've seen all year.... 5 stars
11/14/99 clara the most brilliant, best-acted, and most emotionally draining film of the year 5 stars
10/29/99 "Wild Bill" Kutzner So remarkably annoying & stupid. Why would anyone like this fucking trash-heap of a movie? 1 stars
10/25/99 Jill Morge 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  08-Oct-1999 (R)
  DVD: 13-Dec-2005

UK
  N/A

Australia
  02-Mar-2000 (R)




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