Bil’s rating (out of 5): BBBB.
USA, 2005. Belladonna Productions. Screenplay by Duncan Tucker. Cinematography by Stephen Kazmierski. Produced by Rene Bastian, Sebastian Dungan, Linda Moran. Music by David Mansfield. Production Design by Mark White. Costume Design by Danny Glicker. Film Editing by Pam Wise. Academy Awards 2005. Golden Globe Awards 2005. Independent Spirit Awards 2005. Las Vegas Film Critics 2005. National Board of Review Awards 2005. Toronto International Film Festival 2005.
Felicity Huffman plays a pre-operative transsexual who learns a week before her operation that she has a teenaged son (Kevin Zegers). She tries to avoid meeting him, but her psychiatrist (a lovely Elizabeth Pena) insists that Huffman cannot be complete physically if she leaves her emotional life hanging in the balance. Huffman is obliged to accompany Zegers on a road trip from New York to Los Angeles and still make her hospital date on time, along the way discovering a new bond with the young man. All the quirky adventures and curious characters they encounter (none better than a hilarious performance by Fionnula Flanagan as Huffman’s Texas-cliché mother) are pretty much the standard road-movie fare, but what keeps it from feeling so familiar is the genuine emotion that the actors bring to their roles, and director Duncan Tucker’s witty dialogue. Huffman is fully believable as a man learning to get the hang of being a woman; the performance admittedly owes some of its magic to her clever makeup and hair work, but look into her eyes throughout the adventure and see if you don’t notice someone who is truly on the road to self-acceptance.