Fact-based story about tennis pro Renee Richards, whose player status was challenged in 1976 when it was revealed that she was a transsexual. Flashback to 1964 and meet Richard Radley, a ... See full summary »

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Nominated for 1 Golden Globe. Another 2 wins & 1 nomination. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Richard Radley / Renee Richards
...
Dr. Beck
...
Josh
...
Gwen
...
Meriam
Richard Venture ...
Dr. David Radley
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Dr. Roberto Granato
...
Dr. Sadie M. Bishop
...
Dr. Harry Benjamin
...
Bill
Nina van Pallandt ...
Danielle (as Nina Van Pallandt)
...
Gene Scott
...
Ross
...
Nightclub Singer
Ray Girardin ...
Grigsby
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Storyline

Fact-based story about tennis pro Renee Richards, whose player status was challenged in 1976 when it was revealed that she was a transsexual. Flashback to 1964 and meet Richard Radley, a successful New York doctor with a great lifestyle, a flashy girl friend, and a secret life. Seems like the good doctor likes to dress up in women's clothes and visit Manhattan. His psychiatrist mother refuses to deal with him and sends him to a colleague who diagnoses with a psychotic gender confusion, which he says can be unlearned. After a failed marriage and fatherhood, he gives in to the transsexual operation and becomes Renee for good with a new life in California. Written by John Sacksteder <jsackste@bellsouth.net>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

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Vanessa Redgrave stars as Dr. Renee Richards. The man who became a champion female tennis player. A true story. See more »

Genres:

Biography | Drama | Sport

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Release Date:

13 May 1986 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

I Change My Life  »

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1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

The film cast includes three Oscar winners: Vanessa Redgrave, Martin Balsam and Louise Fletcher. See more »

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Referenced in Ugly Betty: Brothers (2007) See more »

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User Reviews

aka I Change my Life
24 February 2002 | by (Sydney, Australia) – See all my reviews

Vanessa Redgrave's follow up project with producer Linda Yellen after Playing for Time. Here She is New York opthalmologist Richard Radley who has a sex change operation to become Renee Richards, and earns fame as a champion female tennis player. Redgrave's largeness - her height, broad shoulders, wide hips, flat chest, and large feet help in making Richard in drag look unlike a woman, and Redgrave lowers her natural speaking voice. This disparity, brave for an actress playing a male transexual, carries over after Richard becomes Rene, and although she is legally a woman and is heterosexual, her presence retains the memory of her change. The moment of Rene's first romantic kiss with a man is handled particularly delicately.

The teleplay by Stephanie Liss and Gavin Lambert, based on the autobiography by Richards with James Ames, has Richard define his predicament as "gender confusion", having "a woman inside of him raging to get out", and a "compulsive disorder", and clinically defined as a "compartmentalised psychosis". We are presented with a scenario of a strong mother and weak father, with Richard as a child dressed by his mother as a girl and being "pleased" by the attention he got, as his reasons for cross-dressing. However one doctor explans it simply - "When the spirit refuses to fit the body, why not make the body fit the spirit". Richard's path to the operation is so convulated that when it is finally done, the news is announced with little fuss. Director Anthony Page has echoed voices in flashbacks, a drag queen singing Put the Blame on Mame with a gag at the end when he uses his own deep voice, and montages of previous scenes in times of stress. He intercuts between Renee's tennis match and her trial where she sued the tennis organisers for discrimination, and makes use of the subtle music score of Brad Fiedel.


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