Boys Don't Cry
(1999)











Rated: R
Runtime: 1 Hour and 58 Minutes


Reviewer: Erik
Grade: A+

"Boys Don't Cry" falls into a rare category of mine when it comes to film. It's one of those movies that enthralls you from beginning to end, and when the final credits start rolling, you don't move. You don't make a sound. You barely breathe. All you can do is think.

I realize that's probably the easy way to open a movie review, with a description of feeling and emotion rather than a serious lead. But, sometimes, a movie hits that hard.

"Boys Don't Cry" is the based-on-true-life story of Teena Brandon/Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank), a girl who wants to be a boy. Early scenes show Teena getting a boyish haircut and taking a stab at picking up girls from the local roller rink. It's fun, but more importantly, it's how Teena wants to live her life.

However, living this sort of life has its downside, and one night, after nearly getting beaten up by locals, she's kicked out by her roommate.

Thus begins Brandon's journey. "He" ends up in a bar, defends a girl, gets in a fight and ends up tagging along with a couple of people from the bar, Tom Nissan (Brendan Sexton III) and Candace (Alicia Goranson).

In the morning, he awakens in Candace's house, meets up with Tom and his friend John Lotter (Peter Sarsgaard) at a bar, and meets the girl of his dreams. Her name is Lana Tisdal (Chloe Sevigny), one of several people in town who fills her boring days with drinking and drugging and watching people "surf" on the tailgate of pick-up trucks.

Brandon is the shining light in Lana's life. At first, she doesn't think much of him. But amidst the rubble of ramshackled houses, unemployment and alcohol and drug abuse, here comes Brandon. He's polite, sweet, caring and treats her right. Brandon knows how to treat a girl right.

As the relationship grows, Brandon's secret slowly unravels. Brandon will keep it from Lana for a while, but eventually, Lana will start learning things. Tom and John, both unstable, grow tired of Brandon. They look to expose him.

"Boys Don't Cry" is about a lot of things. Brandon is all about being "himself." Tom and John are products of ignorance. Lana is the character that interested me the most, though. She shows that love is a powerful force. Things like personality and appearance play a big part in attraction. And as she learns more about Brandon, we see it doesn't really matter to her.
Through everything, love indeed conquers all.