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Robert De Niro,
Walt Koontz, a homophobic cop, ends up with paralyzed vocal cords because of an unfortunate stroke. His therapy includes singing lessons from a neighbor who is not only flamboyantly gay but also pre-operative transgender. Both of them are equally prejudiced; Koontz against non-heterosexuals and the neighbor against closed-minded straight people.Written by
Rob Reser - The Movie Kid - <email@example.com>
When Philip Seymour Hoffman (Rusty) is first teaching Robert De Niro (Walt) to sing, he mentions he's not Jodie Foster (referring to Silence of the Lambs). Decades earlier, De Niro famously starred with Foster in Taxi Driver, both gritty New York films. See more »
[singing can be heard from Rusty's open window]
Yeah, gitchi gitchi ya ya da da, gitchi gitchi ya ya here, mocha chocolata ya ya...
[shouts out the window]
Hey! Hei! Shut the fuckin' window or shut the fuck up!
You shut you'r fuckin' window!
The gay community thanks you for your support, fucker!
Fuck you and the gay community!
Fuck you and your "Lets get married, have kids and beat up the fuckin' dog" community, Fucker!
[singing really loud out of the window]
[...] See more »
During the credits, DeNiro and Hoffman sing the "Name Song" together while staying in character. See more »
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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