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Normal (2003)

TV Movie  -   -  Drama  -  14 April 2005 (Hungary)
7.2
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Ratings: 7.2/10 from 2,408 users  
Reviews: 55 user | 7 critic

A Midwestern husband and father announces his plan to have a sex change operation.

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Title: Normal (TV Movie 2003)

Normal (TV Movie 2003) on IMDb 7.2/10

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Nominated for 3 Golden Globes. Another 4 wins & 14 nominations. See more awards »

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Edit

Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
...
Roy Sr. - Roy's Father
Mary Seibel ...
Em - Roy's Mother
...
Church Friend Pete
...
...
Roy 'Ruth' Applewood
...
Randall Arney ...
Reverend Dale Muncie
Rich Komenich ...
Co-Worker Bob
Kirk Anderson ...
Machinist
Christian Ambrose ...
Band Member #1
Joe Foust ...
Roadie #1
Sean Rice ...
Band Member #2
Mickey Tuman ...
Roadie #2
...
Wayne Applewood (as Joe Sikora)
...
Frank
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Storyline

In the countryside of the United States of America, Irma Applewood and her husband Roy Applewood have been happily married for twenty-five years and they are model citizens in their community. Roy brings Irma to meet Reverend Dale Muncie, who is their pastor and friend, to tell that he is a woman trapped in a man's body and he will have a sex-change operation. Now Roy has to face the deception of his wife and the intolerance of his colleagues, members of his church and his son Wayne. But Irma loves him and after the impact of the news, she understands and supports him with their teenage daughter Patty Ann (Hayden Panettiere) and Roy's boss Frank ('Clancy Brown') that is their friend. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Love. Marriage. Acceptance. Sex change.

Genres:

Drama

Certificate:

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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

14 April 2005 (Hungary)  »

Also Known As:

Eine Frage der Liebe  »

Company Credits

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Did You Know?

Trivia

Tom Wilkinson chose not to do any research into the subject of transgenderism, as he felt that a mid-Western farmer wouldn't know anything about the subject either. See more »

Quotes

Patty Ann: Mom, Dad and I have the same breast size now!
See more »

Crazy Credits

"Looking for Normal" originally produced by Geffen Playhouse, Gilbert Cates, Randall Arney, Stephen Eich, Los Angeles, CA 2001 See more »

Connections

Referenced in The 61st Primetime Emmy Awards (2009) See more »

Soundtracks

Thoughts of Annie
Written and Performed by James Lum
See more »

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User Reviews

 
For Richer Or Poorer
25 March 2007 | by (Buffalo, New York) – See all my reviews

Tom Wilkinson has been hiding a very big secret from the world. Husband and father, during a marriage counseling visit with his local pastor, he comes out with the fact that inside he feels he was born a woman. That comes as a big shock to his wife of 25 years, Jessica Lange, and their minister, Randall Arney.

This revelation is quite a blockbuster for everyone all around. These are blue collar people, not terribly sophisticated and not well read into the world of transgender. Still most try to cope as best they can.

Tom Wilkinson and Jessica Lange give a pair of beautifully matched performances in Normal. Wilkinson is a decent man, a good husband and father, a good provider, who can't keep up the pretense any more. He starts to transition into a woman, but stays at home to be the parent to young Hayden Panettiere who is just entering puberty. In fact with the estrogen treatments that Wilkinson is taking is almost like him going through puberty a second time with his own daughter.

Lange is the housewife and mother, she does not in fact work, but during the course of the film does take a job for her own income. Her reaction is to castigate Wilkinson, but also to blame herself and in fact her pastor says something like that to her. His only solution is to come up with some scripture from Ephesians that he says covers the situation. Something about emasculating her man.

Arney is an interesting character, transgender is not something taught at the seminary. He's trying to figure it out, but can only think and operate from a very narrow framework. Eventually Wilkinson and Lange leave the church, a most gut wrenching experience for both since they are sincere Christians.

The key scene in this film is during a family reunion at Thanksgiving when Wilkinson's father, who's suffering from the beginnings of Alzheimer's. There is a deep focus shot of Wilkinson in the foreground as dad, Richard Bull, is talking about how as a kid with five daughters he was worried about having an effeminate son when he caught him trying on his mother's clothes. Bull relates he beat his son to get the effeminacy out of him..

The shot then switches to a closeup of Lange and it's worth more than ten pages of dialog as she now knows this is not either some whim of her husband's nor anything that is her fault. Excellent camera work and acting, especially for a TV movie.

Although they are married and stay married, my guess is that at some point Wilkinson and Lange will part amicably. During the film in fact she does begin an affair with her husband's boss, Clancy Brown. My guess is that though she does love Wilkinson very much, Lange will miss the physical intimacy of marriage.

Someone did some good research into transgender issues. There is a brief scene with Wilkinson trying to talk in a higher register now that he's transitioning. One thing I've learned from transgender friends is that one's vocal cords are set for life in puberty when one is male. There are vocal techniques to talk lower, but they have to be learned and presumably Wilkinson will learn them. People who are born female will have their vocal cords thicken with the testosterone treatment

There are very few people that out and out hate the man for transitioning to female. He does get some hate graffiti on his truck and he does get into a fight with one of his co-workers. Mostly they just can't understand. Interesting that Hayden Panettiere reports no problems in school with peers over her dad. It's sometimes the case that the young are the most tolerant indeed.

Normal is a sensitive treatment of transgender issues with some fine performances and a good story with no real ending in sight for this family.


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