Tough, true film
Boys Don't Cry is an awfully hard film to be objective about. Having been based on a horribly true story, and sustaining such a level of desperation throughout, it becomes very difficult to seperate feelings about the material from feelings about how the film was made.
If you don't know, this is the story of Brandon Teena, a born female who identified male. Like many who approach adulthood in difficult circumstances, his life was troubled, hiding this deep secret, and dominated by a search for acceptance. Brandon's secret came out and resulted in the tragedy of being raped by those he considered friends, and then murder.
I think the low budget nature of the film actually helped with the realism, creating a bit of a documentary feel. The plot is a little rambling, like many biographical pieces tend to be, but deftly keeps the stakes raising, and also works well to illustrate the struggle that was Brandon's life.
Hillary Swank did very much deserve the Oscar she won for portraying Brandon. The role required her to bare her body and soul in very uncomfortable situations. She spent four weeks on the street passing as male to prepare for the film, and it shows. There is not one false moment where she falls out of character. The supporting cast is excellent too, particularly those in the harsh, less than sympathetic roles, which must have been difficult to play as well. We also see Alison Folland in a relatively small role, which I note mainly because I loved her performance in All Over Me, though I've yet to have found her in a starring role since.
As it's not possible to abstain from giving a rating, I'll give it an 8, though I honestly don't know what I'm counting off for. While I think everyone should see Boys Don't Cry, I really don't expect people to enjoy it so much as be affected by it.
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