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Boys Don't Cry (1999)

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A young man named Brandon Teena navigates love, life, and being transgender in rural Nebraska.

Director:

Kimberly Peirce
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Popularity
2,659 ( 724)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 38 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Hilary Swank ... Brandon Teena
Chloë Sevigny ... Lana Tisdel
Peter Sarsgaard ... John Lotter
Brendan Sexton III ... Tom Nissen
Alicia Goranson ... Candace
Alison Folland ... Kate
Jeannetta Arnette ... Lana's Mom
Rob Campbell ... Brian
Matt McGrath ... Lonny
Cheyenne Rushing Cheyenne Rushing ... Nicole
Robert Prentiss Robert Prentiss ... Trucker
Josh Ridgway Josh Ridgway ... Kwik Stop Cashier
Craig Erickson Craig Erickson ... Trucker in Kwik Stop
Stephanie Sechrist Stephanie Sechrist ... April
Jerry Haynes ... 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

Taglines:

A true story about finding the courage to be yourself.


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

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

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

31 March 2000 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Take It Like a Man See more »

Filming Locations:

USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$2,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$73,720, 10 October 1999

Gross USA:

$11,540,607

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$11,540,607
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Many of the night shots of the road were filmed by director Kimberly Peirce and cinematographer Jim Denault. When the filming stopped for the day, they used to drive to collect material. See more »

Goofs

When Lana is talking to Candace and Kate about the first time she had sex with Brandon, she throws herself down on her bed, and puts her hands on her face. Her right hand is in front of her left hand, but in the next shot, they have swapped, and her left is in front of her right. See more »

Quotes

[John and Tom have pulled Brandon's pants down to show Lana that her boyfriend is biologically female, but Lana refuses to acknowledge it]
Lana: Leave him alone!
John Lotter: HIM? HIM?
See more »

Crazy Credits

Thanks to ... everyone who volunteered to speak about his or her experiences and help with research. See more »

Alternate Versions

The double rape caused some big problems with the MPAA and had to be trimmed to avoid an NC-17 rating. The European version is more explicit (especially with the first rapist.) See more »


Soundtracks

Burning House of Love
Written by Exene Cervenka and John Doe
Performed by X
Published by Warner-Tamerlane Publishing Corp. (BMI) o/b/o itself and Eight Twelve Music
Courtesy of Elektra Recording Group
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Unflinchingly honest, disturbing, and heart-breaking
20 February 2000 | by doeadearSee all my reviews

I was stunned by the simplicity and power of this fine film. It tells the true and tragic story of Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena, a woman living as a man in a small town in Nebraska. No matter what your personal opinions may be, this film does not preach. It tells the story in a matter-of-fact, honest and gritty way, but leaves you shaking your head in shock that such anger and hatred exists in these modern times, for someone who is "different" merely because of their sexual preference.

Relative newcomer Hilary Swank gives a heartfelt and courageous performance as Brandon. I say courageous not only because of the subject matter, but also because she is able to strip away her youthful, movie star glamour and become the character she plays. She is entirely convincing. Also, she shows a tremendous amount of guts for being able to get through the gut-wrenchingly violent rape scene. This was a brave choice, and a wise one.

Chloe Sevigny plays Lana, the girl Brandon loves. She is the only person who truly understands Brandon. Brandon finds himself in a world of drunken trailer trash and convicted felons. No one is free from guilt, but there is always the unspoken sin of being different. Hilary Swank and Chloe Sevigny play their tastefully erotic love scenes without seeming self-conscious. So many actors of their generation might be afraid to tackle these types of roles, but they do their jobs with aplomb.

The film was another that haunted me the day after seeing it. Kimberly Peirce manages to make a simple film about a very difficult subject, and she doesn't resort to Hollywood gloss or preachiness. It is a risky film, very difficult to watch in places, with several very violent and disturbing scenes. It is a story that needs to be told, and with the two Oscar-nominated performances from Ms. Swank and Ms. Sevigny, it succeeds.


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