Walt Koontz, a homophobic guy, ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes receiving singing lessons from a neighbor who is not only openly flamboyant but also a pre-op transgenderist. Both of them are equally prejudiced; Koontz against homosexuals and the neighbor against close-minded straight people. Written by
Rob Reser - The Movie Kid - <email@example.com>
While the film itself certainly has it's shortcomings, Philip Seymour Hoffman's performance embodies the film's title. While a lesser actor would have taken the role of Rusty as a caricature of gay and transgender stereotypes, Hoffman performs the role with deep sensitivity and respect for the trials of someone living a misunderstood life. Robert De Niro is also believable as a gritty police officer recovering from a stroke.
The most powerful thing about this film is that it doesn't gloss over stereotypes, but still makes the viewer feel compassion for both characters. Deniro's cop goes through a huge transformation from homophobe to someone who learns the value of people whom he may not fully understand, and does so with a delicate, nuanced touch.
I love this movie, even if only for the scene with Hoffman talking to the Log Cabin Republican about their own bias against more flamboyant gays. It's powerful and true, and one of the only films to address the issue, even if only briefly.
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