A Girl Like Me: The Gwen Araujo Story
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25 out of 31 people found the following review useful:

"We're Here to Pay Tribute to My Daughter Gwen"

8/10
Author: bkoganbing from Buffalo, New York
20 June 2006

Gwen Araujo was born some twenty years ago as a biological male and raised with a brother and sister in a single parent household.

It was apparent as shown in the film that Eddie as he was known then was feeling that the anatomy given at birth was not matching what was felt inside. In the teen years, Eddie took the name of Gwen to show her real persona and that was what she presented to the world.

If the Gwen Araujo Story has a weakness it's that their are no really developed secondary characters in the film. It is dominated completely by Mercedes Ruehl as Gwen's mom and J.D. Pardo as Gwen.

But these are two very powerful performances indeed. Ruehl is a loving, caring mother whose own life experiences have left her ill equipped to comprehend what her child is dealing with. As for Gwen, she's an innocent adolescent, but a brave one. Not comprehending why she's the object of such hate and ridicule, but determined to present herself to the world as she sees herself. Pardo does a great job in capturing both parts of Gwen's character.

Had this been done for the big screen we might have gotten a more well rounded film, but as a made for TV film this is definitely one of the better ones. Hopefully a couple of Emmys might be in the future for both Ruehl and Pardo.

It is also to be hoped that this film will educate and enlighten the public about transgender teens and what they face in their daily lives.

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21 out of 29 people found the following review useful:

Gwen Araujo Story

Author: brianna3630 from United States
22 August 2007

I am a Transwoman from Southwest Wisconsin and was glad to finally see the movie about Gwen. I changed my name legally from a male name to a female name in Sept. 2002. A short time later I learned about Gwen's murder. The 4 guys that did this should have been put to death! This is only my feeling but I'm sure that there are other Trans murders that have happened in the U.S. and none have gotten the coverage that Gwen's did but finally there is a movie about Trans People. In my home state there is a Hate Law but I don't think that there is strong enough sentences for Hate motivated crimes in this Country. There needs to be a Uniform Sentences & Laws that will help protect us whether you are Gay, Lesbian or Trans. After all we did not choose this life it was chosen for us! I wished that people were not so narrow-minded and just leave us alone but that will never happen. Thank You for Your Time, Ms. Brianna L. Rieck

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12 out of 16 people found the following review useful:

A Girl Like Me-A Social Tragedy For Our Times ****

10/10
Author: edwagreen from United States
1 July 2006

Outstanding film dealing with a teenager who was totally female in thought but was born in the body of a male and suffered each day in his tragically short life.

J.D. Pardo is excellent as the conflicted youngster. Former Oscar winner Mercedes Ruehl shines in the role of his mother who at first thinks that he will outgrow his obsession of being a girl only to find out that this shall be his way of life. She goes to bat for him all the way.

This excellent film deals with a major societal problem regarding transsexual behavior. We saw it in "TransAmerica," and "Boys Don't Cry." While the ending is tragic, the film is well acted and creates a disturbing picture of what transsexual people have to endure in our society.

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12 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Powerful Film

10/10
Author: coloradokid719 from Byron, Illinois
21 June 2006

I thought this was one of the most thought-provoking and powerful films I've ever seen based on this subject. When I read about this story awhile back, I was galled by what happened to her. J.D. Pardo and Mercedes Ruehl certainly shine in their performances. This should have been made as a major motion picture, and not relegated to being a made-for-TV movie. That being said, however, I salute Lifetime for being brave enough to produce it! It reminds me of another brave film, called "Soldier's Girl" from 2003, also a made-for-TV movie, which was also extremely well-done. A standing ovation for everyone involved in both of these productions!

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19 out of 33 people found the following review useful:

A Girl LIke Me The Gwen Araujo Story My Opinions On it

10/10
Author: beautifully_broken018 from United States
20 June 2006

This story was on Lifetime last night. I'm a big supporter for GLBT community. I think they should be treated right I think they should be allowed to have their freedom I think they should be allowed to be them and not be ashamed, embarrassed,hated, killed, or beaten for be so. It was a good movie. J.D. Pardo was amazing as Gwen. She was beautiful in the movie and once I saw the real Gwen I still thought the same thing she was beautiful as both a girl and guy both on the inside and out. I have to say a few things got to me while watching it. I didn't like how her grandmother was like embarrassed of her and I didn't like how her mom went in and took all her make up and posters down. I also didn't like how her mom went and told Joey she was really a guy she should have let Gwen do that when she was ready to. I did however like how they finally realized this was who she was and accepted her. I didn't like how the attorney for her murders wanted her mom to blame society for her daughters murder instead of the guys. Society didn't kill her they did. I didn't like how the 2 guys only got 6 years. There are eventually going to be out on the street then what? How are other transponder,bisexuals,lesbians,gays going to be protected from them and people like them? What about Gwen and her family to me I don't think justice was served. They all should not be allowed out again. Another thing that got to me was that neither one was charged with committing a hate crime. They beat her for 5 hours strangled her, cut her, and buried her because the rumors of her being born a guy were true how can that not be considered a hate crime. I don't know this movie really touched me. I like shows like this that show how people really are. I look up to Gwen as a hero she was who she was. She was murdered for being her and not what other people wanted her to be and now she is dead she didn't deserve it. Hopefully people who see this movie will see what's going on and maybe one day it can be different. Rip Gwen.

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14 out of 25 people found the following review useful:

Heartbreaking story, half-hearted effort

5/10
Author: ManticoreL7 (ManticoreL7@msn.com) from Paterson, NJ
20 June 2006

I read about the tragic murder of Gwen Araujo in the news a few years ago when it occurred, and I never imagined a telefilm would be made about her life -- much less helmed by Lifetime.

Unfortunately, this film seems like it was done in a hurry and we never really get to connect with Gwen the way we'd like to. J.D. Pardo is effective in his performance, as is Mercedes Ruehl, but this story required a bit more care in the way it was handled.

One thing that did however move me was Gwen's mother loyalty to her daughter, and how willing she was to accept and understand her. Being gay and Latino is difficult enough (I confess from experience), but I can't imagine how much more complicated it must be for people like Gwen.

You can't expect much from a made-for-television movie, and I didn't expect a lot from this one so I can't really say I was disappointed.

I'd like to see a feature film based on Gwen's life someday. Maybe it would be able to capture her essence in the way she deserves.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Good and appreciable effort

Author: prokriteya from Bangladesh
7 September 2011

You know, when you watch a film like this, you can't help remembering Boys Don't Cry. Of course, it's a TV film, and the actor who played Gwen didn't do bad in his portrayal, he indeed seemed comfortable, we see an even better portrayal of the mother.

Perhaps we should not make a comparison due to it being an independent film. It didn't fully connect many a viewers emotionally, but it is indeed a good approach to raise visibility and acceptance, and uphold Gwen's legacy, which it set out to do. Wish someone made a feature film on Gwen's life, but if one day a film like that does get made, it would be for the smaller efforts like this...which does not follow the crappy old way of treating transgenderness as a comic element.

Kudos to the director for trying something new, and necessary!!

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6 out of 10 people found the following review useful:

An excellent TV movie about a terrible reality

Author: jep831 from Mojave Desert, California
20 June 2006

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I had no idea this movie even existed until it was announced in the local newspapers a few days in advance. I made a special point of viewing it, as I had attempted to follow in the news the complex court case that took place many years after the tragedy.

The movie was very well done. I think the music was a bit heavy-handed, ditto some of the "dream" sequences. But the writing was solid and the performances strong, especially the dual leads played by relative newcomer J.D. Pardo as Eddie/Gwen, and veteran accomplished actress Mercedes Ruehl as Sylvia. I also thought that Joey, Joey's ex-girlfriend, and Sylvia's other two children were well portrayed.

I hope this movie will enlighten some viewers as to how difficult life for a transgender person can be and how real the phenomenon is. I have a middle-aged friend who recently became a male-to-female TS person (hormones, surgery, etc.), and it is not something that anyone would do because of a phase, a whim or any other trivial motivation.

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2 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Courage to tackle on a Difficult Subject has Paid Off

8/10
Author: Kong Ho Meng
25 November 2012

although it is the story of gwen. I think in all the numerous movies i have come across so far its the best film representation for the LBGT society as it does not sugarcoat nor distort too much facts relating to them (unlike the movie 'The Kids Are All Right'). i also think that this film is made genuinely and wholeheartedly for the sake of the victim, as there is a message given out by the actors themselves right at the end during the after credits. I liked certain moments and conversations in the show where it is not only touching but memorable...like how her family member describe her 'just like an angel where god does not make them men or women'...this is an entirely heartful and a meaningful watch

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4 out of 8 people found the following review useful:

Important, true story...

9/10
Author: MarieGabrielle from United States
14 March 2009

Today it seems films addressing these issues are still underexposed and maligned at times, the message is important and this film should be recommended in schools.

The third time I watched this film I understood the clear severity of discrimination and hatred that is deflected onto various individuals in American "society". This film is based on a true story wherein J.D. Pardo portrays a trans-gendered high school student. Mercedes Ruehl is excellent as the single mother, struggling to understand her son, and what is plaguing him.

The screenplay is particularly well-done, in that we see the family unit, how much Ruehl and the grandparents love their children, and the build-up to ensuing tragedy.

The court scenes could be tiresome, but are not as the film flashes back to what actually occurred, and the murder trial. Of the three culprits, none were charged with hate crimes. Highly recommended. 9/10.

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