Boys Don’t Cry (1999)

boys dont cry poster 1999 movie
9.0 Overall Score
Story: 8/10
Acting: 10/10
Visuals: 9/10

Great acting, great cast, good looking

Tough to watch

Movie Info

Movie Name:  Boys Don’t Cry

Studio:  Fox Searchlight Pictures

Genre(s):  Drama

Release Date(s):  October 8, 1999

MPAA Rating:  R


Does anyone ever tell you that you look like the next Karate Kid?

Brandon Teena (Hilary Swank) is a guy with troubles…he’s really Teena Brandon.  Living like a man is Teena’s dream and when she ends up in Fall City, Nebraska where no one knows her, it appears it could happen.  Befriending John Lotter (Peter Sarsgaard) and his circle of friends, Brandon meets Lana Tisdel (Chloë Sevigny) who might be able to love him for what he really is.  Unfortunately, Brandon lies are catching up with him and not everyone is willing to accept Brandon.

Written and directed by Kimberly Peirce, Boys Don’t Cry is the semi-biographical telling of the murder of a transgender named Brandon Teena (originally Teena Renae Brandon).  The movie was hailed by critics but did receive controversy involving its rating (it was originally NC-17 due to sexual content) and the accuracy of the portrayal of those involved.  Hillary Swank was nominated for multiple awards for her portrayal of Brandon and won the Academy Award for Best Actress (with a nomination for Best Supporting actress for Chloë Sevigny).  The film was inducted into the National Film Registry in 2019 by the Library of Congress.


Karaoke for Hire!

Boys Don’t Cry is one of those really memorable movies, but a tough movie to watch.  I saw it in the theater with a group and it was one of those uncomfortable after movie moments where no one wants to do anything but go home.  Rewatching the movie years later, the violence and darkness is still there, but I can enjoy the acting and look of the film more.

The story is one of those creeping movies.  Most go into the movie knowing how the story ends, but even if you don’t, there is a dread that hangs over the whole film.  You see Brandon making mistakes, taking risks, and you know the people he’s dealing with aren’t going to take it well.  The movie gets so dark and is the type of film that leaves you feeling gutted.


You guys sure how to throw a party!

The cast is great.  It is one of the only movies I can tolerate Hilary Swank (thankfully it wasn’t Drew Barrymore as an early draft proposed).  Chloë Sevigny is just a strange actress and I always like her less than normal movie choices.  Peter Sarsgaard is strong as the creepy Lotter while Welcome to the Dollhouse’s Brendan Sexton III is somehow more menacing as his follower.  I particularly like Jeanetta Arnette as Sevigny’s mother.  Two actors in the movie I always love to watch are Alison Folland from To Die For and Lecy Goranson from Roseanne (I just can’t take her seriously).


Well, this is uncomfortable…

The movie looks great.  It is shot in a very dreamy style.  The movie utilizes some flashback methods to keep down the sex and violence of the story, but even with that it is often stark and hard to watch.

Boys Don’t Cry is a good movie but one of those movies you can’t watch very often.  The movie is interesting to see today in that there is a lot more known and more portrayals of transgendered people in the media.  The movie is an actor’s movie that is accompanied by a rather strong script and looks…putting above a TV movie of the week drama by miles.

Author: JPRoscoe View all posts by
Follow me on Twitter/Instagram/Letterboxd @JPRoscoe76! Loves all things pop-culture especially if it has a bit of a counter-culture twist. Plays video games (basically from the start when a neighbor brought home an Atari 2600), comic loving (for almost 30 years), and a true critic of movies. Enjoys the art house but also isn't afraid to let in one or two popular movies at the same time.

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