It’s been a while since I’d settled in to watch this. In fact, I hadn’t seen it since its original release onto home video, back when I was jockeying a till for a video store that no longer exists.
And while it may not have been cast, or even produced the same way today as it was then, it’s an important film, and it told an incredible story that hurts all the more because it’s true.
Hilary Swank, in a role that garnered her an Oscar, takes on the role of Brandon Teena, a trangender young man in rural Nebraska – and that right there tells you what kind of film this is going to be. It’s a tough watch because of the fear and hatred that Brandon is met with when their secret is discovered, and it’s shocking that such things continue to happen, which in itself is a reason to watch this film, so people can learn to set aside that hatred and fear.
It’s been said so often, but look at the words and understand them, love is love.
I don’t see why people have such a problem with that, and then will hide behind their mythologies and religions to justify their hatred. Ugh.
Brandon is in love with Lana (an Oscar nominated performance by Chloe Sevigny), the local beauty, and things are going well for him, he’s got friends, he’s got a girl, and he’s got a secret. It’s not the outstanding warrant for Grand Theft, no it’s because he is a she that wants to transition to a he.
This film is not meant to be popcorn entertainment, it’s in your face with its honesty and brutality, and asks the viewer to examine their own beliefs and biases, as they are frighteningly brought to life on the screen.
How anyone would or could do this sort of thing to anyone, the things that are done to Brandon after who they are is discovered, is horrific, and those who would support it are equally horrific. Things have gotten better in some places, but definitely not everywhere, and not as good as they could be.
To think that one could hate and fear what they don’t understand is a terrible trait of some of humanity, and we need to let it go.
Pierce’s film holds the lens on that hate, and bigotry, showing us both the beauty of love, and the terror of hate.
Would some things be shot or cast differently today, absolutely. Does that mean that the story isn’t worth watching? Hell no. Check it out. It still has a powerful impact.