“Oh man, this was such a heavy watch. And given recent news happenings, it’s so relevant too. Hilary Swank won her first Oscar for her leading role here as Brandon Teena/Teena Brandon. Set in Nebraska in 1993, Brandon has just started tryin to assimilate into his life as a boy, instead of the female Teena he’d grown up as. He befriends some small town teens his age and falls in love with the lost and beautiful Lana (Chloe Sevingy, in one of her best and Academy nominated roles). Then the trouble starts when the group finds out about Brandon’s past.
I’ll admit that I was kinda unimpressed with the first half. Yeah it was interesting seeing life through the eyes of a character with a wildly different life than mine, but not a lot was happening. He made some dumb teenage mistakes, but nothing too remarkable. It was almost exactly at the halfway point that the drama kicked up. Secrets were exposed, fear overpowered, and traumatic events occured. The story was so gripping.
Swank tends to get much of the props for this film, and rightfully so, followed by Sevingy. But I just wanna take a moment to call out Peter Sarsgaard. His is not an easy role to inhabit, and he did so fearlessly.
I hadn’t realized or forgot that this was based on a true story, which just heightened the emotional impact all the more when the afterward details were revealed. This is one of those that you don’t watch unless you’re in the right headspace, lest you fall deeper down your rabbithole. But it’s also something that shouldn’t be ignored, today as much as ever.”