BOYS DON’T CRY
Starring Hilary Swank as Teena Brandon. Directed by Kimberley Peirce.
In 1993, Brandon Teena, a teenage drifter who was famous locally for romancing the females in Falls City, Nebraska, was found shot dead in a farmhouse just out of the town. But Brandon, despite his reputation with females, wasn’t actually a man at all. “He” was Teena Brandon, a young woman who was gender-confused. She had managed to pass as a man with all her peers, her girlfriends, and her killers who had once considered themselves her best friends.
Boys Don’t Cry is a film based on the true story above, which you will either love, or hate. If you are homophobic or don’t know what it’s like to be a minority in society, then you probably won’t understand how Teena could be Brandon. But for those people who have faced similar dilemmas, such as being black in a white society, or being a homosexual living somewhere that you aren’t accepted, you will fully understand what it is like to be Teena Brandon or even Brandon Teena. Teena Brandon (played by Hilary Swank) grew up in Lincoln, Nebraska. She lived with a friend who was a homosexual man. Even he didn’t understand Teena’s gender issues. Teena was known to the people in Lincoln as Brandon Teena. When this secret was discovered, she was chased from town. People thought she was dirty didn’t belong in their town. She ran away to a town called Falls City. Falls City was a town where unemployment, poverty, isolation, violence, and drug abuse were a normal part of every day life. Before she ran away, Teena took her role as Brandon even further. She cut her hair short, shoved a sock down her pants to make the right bulge and strapped her breasts.
Teena was in trouble with the law in Lincoln before she ran to Falls City. She had stolen cars and failed to appear in court. These charges followed her. When she, who we will now call he, arrived in Falls City, he fit in with a group of people and became one of the gang rather quickly. It is in this group that Brandon meets a girl who becomes his girlfriend almost immediately. Unfortunately Lana’s (Chloe Sevigny) ex-boyfriend, John (Peter Sarsgaard), is always close at hand and is jealous of Lana’s new relationship with Brandon. John accepts Brandon and they become good friends, along with John’s other friend Tom (Brendan Sexton III). Brandon has an advantage over the other guys, he knows literally what a woman wants. This is how he wins out with Lana. He lives with Candace (Alicia Goranson) and he makes friends with Lana’s mother. When Brandon ends up in jail on a traffic violation, his secret is revealed, as Lana visits him in the womens cells. She accepts the secret, loving Brandon even though he is a she. When John and Tom find out they feel betrayed by Brandon. They humiliate Brandon and make him strip in front of them. When they discover the rumour is true they take him out in the car and bash and rape him. The scene is very graphic and very real. Brandon goes to the police, the police victimise him. They don’t treat him with respect. And because of this, he ends up dead a few days later. Shot dead in Candace’s farmhouse, along with Lana.
In addition to this true story, news just recently revealed that the police were negligent in the case of Teena Brandon and if they had acted as they should, Teena may still be alive today. They should have taken John and Tom into custody, meaning they would not have been able to kill Teena (Brandon). John and Tom ended up being arrested and charged with the brutal double- murder of Brandon and Lana. One of them is on death row and the other has been sentenced to life in prison. The film was produced on a limited budget. You can tell this by looking at the scenes and the camera work. But the acting is that of a multi-million dollar film. Hilary Swank won the 1999 Oscar for Best Actress and Chloe Sevigny was nominated as Best Supporting Actress but didn’t win. The funny thing was that alot of the people applauding Hilary’s win hadn’t even seen the film. It had only been in small cinemas, it hadn’t been a major box-office smash. If you’re looking for light-hearted entertainment, this movie is not for you. If you wish to delve into the darker side of human nature, then watch this movie. Watching the ignorance, combined with the fear and jealousy resulting in murder, is chilling to the bone, this movie is only for the emotionally robust.