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Boys Don't Cry (1999)

7.6
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Ratings: 7.6/10 from 66,098 users   Metascore: 86/100
Reviews: 425 user | 117 critic | 33 from Metacritic.com

Female born, Teena Brandon adopts his male identity of Brandon Teena and attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska.

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Title: Boys Don't Cry (1999)

Boys Don't Cry (1999) on IMDb 7.6/10

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Won 1 Oscar. Another 49 wins & 30 nominations. See more awards »

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Set in 1960, the film centres on the young, boyishly handsome Yuddy, who learns from the drunken ex-prostitute who raised him that she is not his real mother. Hoping to hold onto him, she ... See full summary »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
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...
...
...
...
...
...
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Brian
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Lonny
Cheyenne Rushing ...
Nicole
Robert Prentiss ...
Trucker
Josh Ridgway ...
Kwik Stop Cashier
Craig Erickson ...
Trucker in Kwik Stop
Stephanie Sechrist ...
April
...
Judge
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Storyline

Based on actual events. Brandon Teena is the popular new guy in a tiny Nebraska town. He hangs out with the guys, drinking, cussing, and bumper surfing, and he charms the young women, who've never met a more sensitive and considerate young man. Life is good for Brandon, now that he's one of the guys and dating hometown beauty Lana. However, he's forgotten to mention one important detail. It's not that he's wanted in another town for GTA and other assorted crimes, but that Brandon Teena was actually born a woman named Teena Brandon. When his best friends make this discovery, Brandon's life is ripped apart. Written by Zhe

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

nebraska | friend | drinking | love | sex | See more »

Taglines:

A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.

Genres:

Biography | Drama

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for violence including an intense brutal rape scene, sexuality, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Official Sites:

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

29 October 1999 (Canada)  »

Also Known As:

Take It Like a Man  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend:

£79,576 (UK) (21 April 2000)

Gross:

$11,533,945 (USA) (19 May 2000)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Color:

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Premiere voted this movie as one of "The 25 Most Dangerous Movies." (In the description for the list, the magazine stated, "These are movies about which you could say, "That's Not Entertainment." They're not "rides" or "diversions." They are galvanizing experiences that place squarely in your face all the stuff Hollywood usually presumes you go to the movies to get away from. Films that rearrange your head, that challenge your bedrock ideas about life and love and the big sleep. Consciousness-expanders, in other words, but rarely in a pleasant way. Thank God for them.") See more »

Goofs

With all the care that Brandon takes to appear male, this would certainly include NOT shaving his legs. See more »

Quotes

Lana's Mom: I don't want IT in my house.
See more »

Crazy Credits

A special thanks to all of the transmen and butch dykes who helped, advised and auditioned for this project and supported the process of bringing this story to the screen. See more »

Connections

Featured in This Film Is Not Yet Rated (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Why Can't We Live Together
Written by Timmy Thomas
Performed by Timmy Thomas
Published by Windswept Pacific Songs (BMI)
Courtesy of Rhino Entertainment Company
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Sometimes they do
17 September 2001 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

(Note: Over 500 of my movie reviews are now available in my book "Cut to the Chaise Lounge or I Can't Believe I Swallowed the Remote!" Get it at Amazon.)

This movie really made me think about sexual differences and what it means to have a sex change or to want one, or to be trapped in a gender you don't want. It was very effective to have us see Hilary Swank (who plays Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon) with short hair and male facial expressions and gestures without giving us a glimpse of her as Teena. (Actually we did get a brief glimpse in a photo.) Swank looks like a boy, acts like a boy, in fact works hard to be a boy; indeed that is (sadly) part of what this movie is about, what it means to be a boy in middle America as opposed to being a girl. And then when we have the scene with the tampons and the breast wrapping and we see her legs, the effect is startling, an effect possibly lost on those who knew that the person playing Brandon was a woman. It was when I saw her legs and could tell at a glance that she was a woman with a woman's legs that I realized just how subtle, but unmistakable are the anatomical sexual differences, and how convincing Swank's portrayal was.

I was reminded as I watched this of being a young person, of being a teenager and going through all the rituals and rites, unspoken, unplanned, without social sanction, that we all go through to prove our identity, because that is what Brandon was so eager to do, to prove his identity as a boy. I thought, ah such an advantage he has with the girls because he knows what they like and what they want. He can be smooth, and how pretty he looks. It was strange. I actually knew some guys in my youth who had such talent, and the girls did love them.

The direction by Kimberly Peirce is nicely paced and the forebodings of horror to come are sprinkled lightly throughout so that we don't really think about the resolution perhaps until the campfire scene in which John Lotter shows his self-inflicted scars and tosses the knife to Brandon. Then we know for sure, something bad is going to happen.

Hilary Swank is very convincing. Her performance is stunning, and she deserved the Academy Award she won for Best Actress. She is the type of tomboy/girl so beloved of the French cinema, tomboyish, but obvious a girl like, for example, Zouzou as seen in Chloe in the Afternoon (1972) or Élodie Bouchez in the The Dreamlife of Angels (1998), or many others. Indeed, one is even reminded of Juliette Binoche, who of course can play anything, or going way back, Leslie Caron in Gigi (1958). Chloe Signvey, who plays Lana Tisdel, the girl Brandon loves, whom I first saw in Palmetto (1998), where she stole a scene or two from Woody Allen and Elisabeth Shue, really comes off ironically as butch to Swank, yet manages a sexy, blue collar girl next door femininity. She also does a great job. Peter Sarsgaard is perfect as John Lotter, trailer trash car thief and homophobic redneck degenerate.

Very disturbing is the ending. If you know the story, you know the ending. Just how true this was to the real life story it is based on is really irrelevant. I knew nothing about the story, but I know that film makers always take license to tell it the way they think it will play best, and so it's best to just experience the film as the film, independent of the real story, which, like all real stories, can never be totally told.

Obviously this is not for the kiddies and comes as close to an "X" rating as any "R" movie you'll ever see. It will make most viewers uncomfortable, but it is the kind of story that needs to be told.


112 of 145 people found this review helpful.  Was this review helpful to you?

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Teena WAS a woman Hegerfors
Thoughts on negative comments on this board amunar20
What Teena did was wrong OK_Firecracker
sex scene JumeirahSun
What exactly WAS Brandon Teena?? blantonbrenda
FOR THE REAL LANA TISDALE! sunbun63
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