For this week’s installment, we’d like to direct your attention to one of the most memorable films of the ‘90s, Kimberly Peirce’s gripping directorial feature debut “Boys Don’t Cry.”
“Boys Don’t Cry” was based on a true story about Brandon Teena, a 21-year old trans man who was raped and murdered by acquaintances John Lotter and Tom Nissen in December 1993 after discovering that he was biologically female. To tackle such a controversial and touchy subject matter, and for one’s debut effort at that, is a pretty bold move. But in the end, Peirce was able to prove her mettle both to film critics and the viewing public.
One thing that easily stands out in “Boys Don’t Cry” is young Hilary Swank’s Oscar-winning portrayal of Brandon Teena. Not only does she convincingly looks the part, but she also manages to bring out an excellent performance that left its mark on the minds of those who’ve seen it. In addition, Chloë Sevigny (Lana Tisdel), Peter Saarsgard (John Lotter), Brendan Sextan III (Tom Nissen), Jeanetta Arnette (as Lana’s mom), Alicia Goranson (Candace), and Matt McGrath (Lonny) form a strong supporting cast.
But on a more serious note, “Boys Don’t Cry” is a powerful eye-opener as it unabashedly addresses the prevalence of discrimination and hate crime, and how ignorance about diversity of any form can have dire consequences. The movie will move you and draw different emotions from you as you sit through it – from annoyance (because how can one person deliberately make one bad decision after the other and screw up so many times?) to disbelief bordering on anger (because, really, being different is never an enough reason for one to be subjected to be discriminated against, humiliated, hurt, or even killed) and everything in between. Ironically, people often harp on finding one’s true self, yet for some individuals like Brandon, their fatal flaw turned out to be exactly that.
Like this article? Check out our articles from the Friday Movie Flashback series in the Lomography magazine!