Boys Don’t Cry is a 1999 film based on the true story of Brandon Teena, played by Hilary Swank, a transgender man pursuing a relationship with a girl named Lana. The film was directed by Kimberly Peirce and received almost universal high praise from critics and audiences alike.
1993 Nebraska was far from a friendly place for the LGBT community, “You know what they do to fags down there, string ‘em up!” as Brandon’s cousin tells him. Despite the risks, Brandon stays and continues seeing Lana, their relationship strengthens and ultimately Lana accepts Brandon for who he is. The films centres around Brandon’s attempt to see Lana whilst running from his criminal past, dealing with her intimidating friends as well as the town’s prejudices.
Swank’s performance is very convincing and absolutely deserved of the Oscar she won for it, her transformation into a man is surprisingly realistic considering her usual glamorous appearance and highlights the physical measures a pre-operative female to male transgender has to go through in order to get by. The film is ultimately a romantic tragedy between ill fated lovers set in an American trailer park which looks at how the inability to escape your surroundings and past can lead to disastrous consequences.
I would strongly recommend this film but be warned, it’s pretty intense and there are a couple of scenes which are genuinely hard to watch.