Boys Don't Cry (1999)

BOYS DON'T CRY is the feel-bad movie of the (new) year.  First-time 
filmmaker Kimberly Pierce both co-wrote and directed this increas-
ingly frightening indy drama based on the true story of Teena Bran-
don (Hilary Swank), a drifting delinquent from Nebraska who masquer-
aded as a man before meeting, at age 21, an untimely (though, given 
what we're shown, not surprising) end.  (She was killed shortly after 
her secret was revealed to her "friends.")  Brandon's backwoods peer 
group included her sympathetic lover Lana (Chloe Sevigny), who was 
starting to suspect something, and the men who murdered her (Peter 
Sarsgaard and Brendan Sexton III), one of whom had a long-standing 
obsession with Lana.  Though the ads for this one trumpet "hate 
crime," the bad-to-worse-to-"worser" circumstances plays more like 
an extreme episode of The Jerry Springer Show.  So, the Martyr Fac-
tor (MF) is pretty low.  And, really, the movie is about much more 
than just a build-up to a bad scene.  It's also an exceptionally ef-
fective portrait of, well, the f*cked-up lives of some f*cked-up 
folks.  Despite the distracting lower-budget production values, the 
acting is largely exceptional.  Except, that is, for former "Rose-
anne" star Alicia Goranson.  She looks all of 13 and isn't even *re-
motely* believable as a young mother slash barmaid.  (Rated "R"/116 

Grade: B

Copyright 2000 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies as MOVIE HELL: January 16, 2000

[an error occurred while processing this directive]