From the May 2000
| BOYS DON'T
|STARS: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter
Sarsgåard, Brendan Sexton III, Alison Folland
DIRECTOR: Kimberly Peirce
SCREENPLAY: Kimberly Peirce
and Andy Bienen
CERTIFICATE: 18 DISTRIBUTOR and Picture copyright: 20th Century Fox
RUNNING TIME: 1hr 54 mins
OPENING DATE (UK): April 7
There are two remarkable stories being told here. One is the tale of Brandon Teena, an attractive, fun-loving teenager who was hiding a considerable secret from his girlfriend and friends. Despite the short hair, boyish face and heady air of masculinity, the name on Brandons birth certificate was Teena Brandon and without any sort of cosmetic alterations, she was enjoying life as a free-spirited male.
The other is the change in fortunes of actress Hilary Swank. Making her starring début in The Next Karate Kid and appearing in third-rate dross like Sometimes They Come Back Again, Swanks CV offered nothing to suggest that one day shed be picking up a Golden Globe and be battling it out (successfully) for an Oscar.
Swanks new-found credibility is fully justified. Her outstanding performance engaging, charismatic and buoyed by a genuine feeling of unshackled exhilaration illuminates the movie. Although were privy to Brandons feminine identity from the start, Swank inhabits the role so convincingly, that not once do you find yourself questioning why nobody cottoned on earlier to her massive deception.
Set mostly in the nocturnal hours of a romanticized rural America (the characters are often lit with a heavenly glow) Boys Dont Cry narrates Brandons story with warmth and integrity. Director and co-writer Peirce has spent five years researching Brandons life and every facet of his relationship with girlfriend Lana (Sevigny, exceptional too) and their troubled, hot-headed friends John (Sarsgåard) and Tom (Sexton III). The result is a fascinating, thought-provoking character study, carrying a considerable emotional charge which is triggered by the films tragic final chapter.
What is perhaps most admirable about Peirces movie is that, despite the potentially sensationalistic material, this is not a mere tabloid representation of Brandons life, instead the subject is treated respectfully and with a sense of fondness. Even later on, when Brandons secret is uncovered and time-bombs John and Tom finally explode, Peirce presents these uncomfortable scenes as tastefully as possible, while still presenting the full horror of the situation.
Ultimately a movie tinged with sadness, Peirce, Swank and Sevigny have nevertheless pulled out all the stops to create an affecting and effective celebration of Brandon Teenas extraordinary story.
|Read our massive reviews section in this month's
Reviews © Visual Imagination Ltd 2000. Not for reproduction.
Also reviewed online this month:
ERIN BROCKOVICH released April 7
FULL DETAILS AND REVIEWS OF ALL THESE AND MORE IN THIS ISSUE