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Boys Don't Cry (1999)

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

Director:

Kimberly Peirce
Reviews
Popularity
3,593 ( 112)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 37 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, Limited Release

Gross USA:

$11,533,945, 21 May 2000
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

Peter Sarsgaard and Chloë Sevigny later appeared in Shattered Glass (2003), which is also based on real events. See more »

Goofs

Brandon's note to Candace is missing the apostrophe in "I'll". See more »

Quotes

Sheriff: Why do you go hanging out with guys, you being a girl yourself? Why do you go around kissing every girl?
Brandon: I... don't see what this has to do with what had happened.
Sheriff: I'm asking you all these so that when I speak to the jury, they're going to want some answers, so I have to know exactly what is going on. Now, are you going to answer my question or not?
Brandon: I... have a sexual identity crisis.
Sheriff: You have a what?
Brandon: I have a sexual identity crisis.
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 »

Alternate Versions

The USA version originally garnered an NC-17 from the MPAA. The film was cut and re-rated R. The European version reportedly is uncut. See more »

Connections

Spoofed in Family Guy: Boys Do Cry (2007) See more »

Soundtracks

Just What I Needed
Written by Ric Ocasek
Performed by The Cars
Published by Lido Music, Inc.
Courtesy of Elektra Entertainment 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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