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Monday, September 19, 2005

Transamerica

Programm: Contemporary World Cinema
Director: Duncan Tucker
Country: USA
Year: 2005
Language: English
Time: 100 minutes
Production Company: Belladonna Productions
Executive Producer: William H. Macy
Producer: Linda Moran, Rene Bastian, Sebastian Dungan
Screenplay: Duncan Tucker
Cinematography: Stephen Kazmierski
Editor: Pam Wise
Production Designer: Mark White
Sound: Griffin Richardson, Lou Bertini
Music: David Mansfield
Principal Cast: Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Fionnula Flanagan, Elizabeth Peña, Graham Greene

Living in Los Angeles, our transsexual heroine Bree (Felicity Huffman) is a week away from the procedure that will make her a woman at last. Then she gets a phone call from New York. A young man jailed for turning tricks has named Bree as his father: does she want to come and bail him out? Bree realizes that Toby (Kevin Zegers) must be the result of a barely recalled episode of early sexual experimentation. When her therapist (Elizabeth Peña) threatens to withhold the signature approving surgery unless she makes peace with the past, Bree takes the first flight to Manhattan.

Bree doesn’t count on feeling the tug of parental responsibility, but when Toby mistakes her for a kind-hearted church worker, she can’t bring herself to tell him the truth. He wants to go to California to start over; she plans to ditch him with his stepfather in Kentucky. At cross purposes, this unlikely pair sets out on what will prove to be a rollicking road trip across America.

What ensues is a compressed course in parenthood for Bree, a lesson in trust for Toby and a trunk-load of fun for the viewer. The charming, offbeat, often wry humour in the film stems from the heroic efforts of each to keep their secrets from the other, and their facades become increasingly more difficult to maintain as they encounter a hippie hitchhiker, an affable rancher (Graham Greene) and, in a moment of desperation, Bree’s frenetic parents in Arizona. Nothing, absolutely nothing, goes as planned on this trip.

Huffman has created an extraordinary character in Bree, about as far from her lipstick-lined suburbanite of “Desperate Housewives” as one could possible imagine. She is well-matched by lanky Zegers as Toby, whose belligerent insouciance masks a scared, damaged boy. Finding the right balance between the obvious farce and melodrama inherent in this situation is a challenge; director Duncan Tucker perfectly modulates the film’s tone, proving himself to be a subtle and respectful chronicler of these unusual, lovable and all-too-human characters.

MY THOUGHTS:
Felicity Huffman is sooooo pretty! I only said that about a dozen times during the screening… Kevin Zegers wasn’t so bad either (dead to me – Greektown’s type, not mine). All non-sexual crushes aside, this was a fantastic film. The film was very well written AND acted with both Huffman and Zegers absolutely convincing in their roles. More importantly, the combo of great writing and acting made for a really touching story that I felt invested in throughout.

The film itself deals with transexuality, prostitution, drug abuse, sexual abuse and just about anything else you can think of, and all of these things are extremely remote from my life experience, and yet I felt close to the story because the film did such a wonderful job of inviting you in and showing you the intimate details and struggles of their lives. This is a must-see and well worth risking my neck on the drive from Menno-town on Friday afternoon in blinding rain.

Posted by Brown Eyed Girl :: 4:03 PM :: 0 Comments:

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