Boys Don't Cry

Boys Don't Cry is the new movie that chronicles the tragic end of young Nebraskan Teena Brandon's life. Brandon's life, which ended in 1993, has already been told in the documentary The Brandon Teena Story, and is fictionalized in Kimberly Pierce's new effort. Teena, who has a "sexual identity crisis," tapes her breasts and cuts her hair very short to appear like a man. She goes around as 'Brandon Teena,' dating women, and inevitably getting in trouble when they discover her secret. Brandon (Hilary Swank, a long way from The Next Karate Kid and Buffy the Vampire Slayer) makes her way to Falls City, Nebraska, where she again poses as a man.

There, she falls in love with Lana (Chloe Sevigny, The Last Days of Disco , Julien Donkey-Boy), and hangs around with Lana's circle of friends. When her true nature is finally revealed, Lana's friends turn on Brandon, and eventually end up killing her. Swank, who spent time as a man before principle shooting began, is mesmerizing as Brandon. Her appearance as a man is uncanny, and she passes more than convincingly as a young man. Her Brandon, while no one knows her secret, is a confidant, fun loving normal boy. No real explanation is ever given as to why Brandon does what she does. The script by Pierce and Andy Bienen even portrays Brandon as confused. When her brother confronts her about being a lesbian, she denies that she is one. Sevigny, who seems drawn to these types of roles and movies, appears to be bored in most of the movie. The emotions of her character are only present in the final acts of the movie.

In the beginning of the film, the only thing happening is Brandon joining with Lana and her friends as they party, cause mischief, and do other things that bored teenagers do. The crowd they belong to is part of the forgotten part of society. They have no real jobs, live in broken homes, and can only dream of something better. Brandon gives Lana the means of attaining her dream of getting away, and treats Lana with respect, things that cause Lana to love Brandon. Pierce pulls no punches in the story or direction. Brandon's sense of belonging is instantly shattered once her secret it out. All of the people she thought were her friends now hate her for who she is. What makes the film frightening is the fact that you can imagine the same thing happening again. The portrayal of some of the lowlier elements in Falls City is not too positive. The police in the movie are especially despicable. The change in attitude of many of the people in this film is disgusting, and sadly, believable.

Mongoose Rates It: Not Bad
1 hour, 54 minutes, Rated R for violence including an intense brutal rape scene, sexuality, language, and drug use.