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Boys Don’t Cry (1999)


Coming Out at 22 October 1999 in theaters

Biography, Crime, Drama

Boys Don’t Cry is biographical film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Peirce and Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, an American trans man played in the film by Hilary Swank, who attempts to find himself and love in Nebraska but falls victim to a brutal hate crime perpetrated by two male acquaintances. The film co-stars Chloë Sevigny as Teena’s girlfriend, Lana Tisdel.

After reading about the case while in college, Peirce conducted extensive research for a screenplay, which she worked on for almost five years. The film focuses on the relationship between Brandon and Lana. The script took dialogue directly from archive footage in the 1998 documentary The Brandon Teena Story. Many actors sought the lead role during a three-year casting process before Swank was cast. Swank was chosen because her personality seemed similar to Teena’s. Most of the film’s characters were based on real-life people; others were composites.

Filming occurred during October and November 1998 in the Dallas, Texas area. The producers initially wanted to film in Falls City, Nebraska, where the real-life events had taken place; however, budget constraints meant that principal photography had to occur in Texas. The film’s cinematography uses dim and artificial lighting throughout and was influenced by a variety of styles, including neorealism and the films of Martin Scorsese, while the soundtrack consisted primarily of country, blues, and rock music. The film’s themes, which have been explored by many scholars, include the nature of romantic and platonic relationships, the causes of violence against LGBT people, specially transgender people, and the relationship among social class, race, and gender.

The film premiered at the New York Film Festival on October 8, 1999, before appearing at various other film festivals. Distributed by Fox Searchlight Pictures, the film received a limited release in the United States on October 22, 1999, and it performed well at the North American box office, gaining three times its production budget by May 2000. The film was acclaimed by critics, with many ranking it as one of the best films of the year; praise focused on the lead performances by Swank and Sevigny as well as the film’s depiction of its subject matter. However, some people who had been involved with Brandon in real life criticized the film for not portraying the events accurately.

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Writers: Kimberly Peirce, Andy Bienen

Stars: Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard, Brendan Sexton III, Alicia Goranson, Alison Folland, Jeannetta Arnette


Hilary SwankBrandon Teena
Chloë SevignyLana Tisdel
Peter SarsgaardJohn Lotter
Brendan Sexton IIITom Nissen
Alicia GoransonCandace
Alison FollandKate
Jeannetta ArnetteLana’s Mom
Rob CampbellBrian
Matt McGrathLonny
Cheyenne RushingNicole
Robert PrentissTrucker
Josh RidgwayKwik Stop Cashier
Craig EricksonTrucker in Kwik Stop
Stephanie SechristApril
Jerry HaynesJudge
Lou PerrymanSheriff
Lisa Renee WilsonPam
Jackson KaneSam Phillips
Joseph GibsonTom
Michael TrippNerdy Teen
Shana McClendonGirl in Car
Libby VillariNurse
Paige Carl GriggsDave – Deputy
Gail CronauerClerk
Guilford AdamsTeena Brandon’s Father
Chad BrileyExtra
Ryan Thomas BrockingtonKiss
Christophe DahlkvistTruck Driver
Taylor EavesToddler
Michelle FairbanksGirl in Car
Gabriel HornLester – Restraining Order Guy
Gavin PerryDeputy
Robert A. SteffeninoBartender
Caitlin WehrleValley Girl

Sources: imdb & wikipedia

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