I don’t know what’s been going on these days…Call it Revenge of the Independent Films! Lately, the U.S. has been releasing some excellent movies – a big change from the usual, poor quality, special effects-filled blockbusters with no storyline that they usually send us.
A few weeks ago, a great movie hit our screens: Transamerica, starring Felicity Huffman as Bree, a male-to-female transsexual anxiously awaiting the final operation that will make her a woman.
A great road movie
One week before her operation, Bree receives a life-changing telephone call. She learns that she has a son from a brief heterosexual encounter that she had years before. Toby, who is now a young man, is searching for his father – a man named Stanley – who he has never known. Bree, whose name used to be… (you guessed
it!) Stanley, is overwhelmed and confides in her psychologist.
Her psychologist then decides to withhold the certificate approving Bree’s operation until Bree comes to terms with the issue and confronts her son. Bree therefore heads out to find and meet Toby, a sex trade worker and drug addict. Incapable of revealing who she really is, Bree decides to lie and tells Toby that she is a missionary from a Christian church in charge of setting Toby down a straighter path.
The ultra-conservative Bree, always proper and discrete, has to learn to live with Toby, an aggressive, rude teenager. After a few weeks spent on an east-west cross-country road trip together (Bree needs to get back to Los Angeles for her surgery and Toby has dreams of a Hollywood career), their lives change dramatically.
A very human character
Felicity Huffman, the lead actress, won the 2006 Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Drama and was also nominated for an Oscar for her role in this film. I believe that she truly deserves both of these honours. She is a
Felicity Huffman inTransamerica
skilled actress and never lets Bree fall into the burlesque or the bleak. Bree is not flamboyant, pathetic, neurotic or too perfect. She is simply human, with shortcoming and qualities like the rest of us.
Fionnula Flanagan, who plays the supporting role of Bree’s mother in the movie, gave an excellent and touching performance as her character’s personality evolved throughout the movie. Graham Greene also skilfully portrayed a tender, gruff character whose path crosses Bree’s.
The film is insightful and is carried by the excellent performances of the actors. There are little special effects, the music is subtle and the sets are fitting without being extravagant. But, in the end, I must say that I was a little disappointed and felt like something was forgotten (I don’t want to spoil the movie for anyone!)
Transamerica is playing now in certain cinemas across the province. Check your local listings for more information.