7.6/10
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442 user 120 critic

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.

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3,579 ( 100)
Won 1 Oscar. Another 47 wins & 37 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
... Brandon Teena
... Lana Tisdel
... John Lotter
... Tom Nissen
... Candace
... Kate
... Lana's Mom
... Brian
... Lonny
Cheyenne Rushing ... Nicole
Robert Prentiss ... Trucker
Josh Ridgway ... Kwik Stop Cashier
Craig Erickson ... Trucker in Kwik Stop
Stephanie Sechrist ... April
... 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:

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Details

Official Sites:

Fox Searchlight

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

31 March 2000 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Take It Like a Man  »

Filming Locations:

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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

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Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Hilary Swank was paid about US$3000 for her role, her fee was so low she couldn't afford insurance. See more »

Goofs

In one scene, a video for "Don't Want You" by the Lunachicks is playing. The video and album were released in 1997. See more »

Quotes

Lana: I mean, you don't have to be sober to weigh spinach.
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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 »

Connections

Referenced in Young Americans: Gone (2000) 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
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User Reviews

 
Swank is not a lesbian at all but a transgendered individual, thus blurring the sexual divide in the best queer tradition…
10 December 2008 | by See all my reviews

Teena Brandon (Hilary Swank) is a girl who wishes to become a boy… Arriving in the small Nebraska town of Falls City, Teena binds her breasts, cuts her hair and calls herself Brandon Teena…

When Brandon meets Lana (wonderfully played by Chloë Sevigny), a love affair develops in the course of which sexual identities and gender stereotype is turned upside down…

Eventually Lana comes to realize Brandon is anatomically female, but by then she does not care… Brandon offers her a caring relationship such as she has never known… Unfortunately, Brandon's secret is eventually discovered by two young men, John and Tom, who have befriended him… The knowledge that they have been deceived is deeply disturbing to their male pride…

The film is based on a true story, which also the subject of a documentary, 'The Brandon Teena Story' (1998). But it is less its status as a true-crime document, more its subtle power to subvert our usual assumptions about sexuality that makes this a notable film, and a key text of the so-called 'queer' cinema…

Unlike militant films which proselytize for homosexuality, 'queer' films adopt a more insidious strategy, seeking to undermine such rigid categories as gay and straight… Thus Brandon, in Hilary Swank's excellent interpretation of the role, alert to all the ambiguities, is not a lesbian though he/she has sex with women… And while he/she has adopted some of the physical attributes of a man (clothes, hair-style, certain mannerisms), Brandon has retained a softness and sensuality which implies a critique of conventional masculinity, and which is the secret of his/her sexual success with women… No wonder he arouses the rage of other men…


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