Transamerica

"Weak"

Transamerica Review


From the moment that Felicity Huffman comes on screen in Transamerica, with her rumbling voice and the cloistered manners of a 1950s housewife, it's apparent you're in for something rarely seen before in American film. Playing the transsexual Bree, who is getting ready for the final gender reassignment surgery that will complete her transition to true womanhood, Huffman creates a character who isn't terribly interested in gender politics but just wants to be allowed to live on her own terms. As such, it's a brave and tough piece of acting - a woman playing a man aching to become a woman - that truly breaks barriers. Unfortunately, there's a lousy movie wrapped around her that one must suffer through to see her.

Conceived by writer/director DUNCAN TUCKER as the kind of wacky road movie being churned out by Sundance-grubbing indie studios about 10 years ago, Transamerica has a strong conception of Bree's character but little idea of what to do with it. Living in a small, rundown house and working two jobs to save money, Bree puts all her hopes and dreams into her long-awaited surgery, doing everything she can to convince her therapist (Elizabeth Peña) that she's ready for the change. All that gets put on hold, though, when she finds out that a relationship she had back when she was still living as a man resulted in a child, Toby (Kevin Zegers, hardly up to the task), now a teen runaway calling from a New York jail looking for his dad. Since her therapist won't consent to the surgery until she deals with her past, Bree hops a plane to New York. That's where the road trip comes in.

Tucker has obviously done his homework on this subculture, showing in well-detailed terms how these people in transition from one gender to the gender live out their daily lives. There's no question but that he has presented here an affectionate portrait of the often-misunderstood, going out of his way to show Bree as a true woman who only needs the surgery so that she can finally feel at peace in her own body. It's with everything else in the film that Tucker runs into trouble.

The bulk of Transamerica is made up of the desperately madcap adventures which Toby and Bree get into on the road from New York to L.A. - where he hopes to break into porn stardom. Everything here, from Bree's last-minute decision to hide her true identity from Toby (she pretends she's a missionary) to an excruciating section with Bree's parents, works barely as comedy and even less well as drama. A woefully short highlight is when the two run into Calvin, a good old boy who gets a crush on Bree. Played with endearing warmth by the masterful Graham Greene, Calvin has a rambling ease missing from the rest of the film, his too-brief scenes finally giving Huffman someone of similar caliber to play against. This sort of critical misjudgment is typical of this crushingly dull film which practically hides Huffman's breakthrough performance behind a wall of Indie Screenwriting 101 clichés.

What Adam's apple?



Transamerica

Facts and Figures

Run time: 103 mins

In Theaters: Friday 10th February 2006

Box Office USA: $8.7M

Box Office Worldwide: $13.4M

Budget: $1000 thousand

Distributed by: Weinstein Company

Production compaines: IFC Films, The Weinstein Company

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 76%
Fresh: 103 Rotten: 32

IMDB: 7.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , Sebastian Dungan

Starring: as Bree, as Toby, as Margaret, Danny Burstein as Dr. Spikowsky, Maurice Orozco as Fernando, as Calvin, Grant Monohon as Hitchhiker, as Murray, as Sydney, Paul Borghese as New York City Cop, as Elizabeth

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Julieta Movie Review

Julieta Movie Review

Iconic Spanish filmmaker Pedro Almodovar is back with another powerfully complex female-centred drama, along the...

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

Popstar: Never Stop Never Stopping Movie Review

An astute satire of the pop music business, this raucous mock-documentary is consistently hilarious from...

War Dogs Movie Review

War Dogs Movie Review

Based on a rather astounding true story, this comedy-drama centres on two stoners who landed...

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

Swallows and Amazons Movie Review

After a number of films, TV series and stage adaptations, Arthur Ransome's beloved 1930 novel...

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

David Brent: Life on the Road Movie Review

The original BBC sitcom The Office ran for 14 episodes from 2001 to 2003, and...

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

The Childhood of a Leader Movie Review

Bold and intelligent, this dark drama is a challenging portrait of the making of an...

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

Pete's Dragon Movie Review

This hugely enjoyable adventure is a loose remake of the 1977 Disney hit that blended...

Advertisement
The Shallows Movie Review

The Shallows Movie Review

With a simple premise and plenty of visual style, Spanish filmmaker Jaume Collet-Serra (Unknown) takes...

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Mike and Dave Need Wedding Dates Movie Review

Watching this gross-out comedy, it's clear that the gifted cast and crew had a great...

Nerve Movie Review

Nerve Movie Review

With a premise that feels almost eerily current, this stylish thriller revolves around a phone...

The Carer Movie Review

The Carer Movie Review

Brian Cox gets the role of a lifetime in this warm comedy about living life...

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Born to Be Blue Movie Review

Writer-director Robert Budreau takes a stylised approach to this biopic of the legendary jazz artist...

Jason Bourne Movie Review

Jason Bourne Movie Review

It's been nine years since Matt Damon and Paul Greengrass collaborated on The Bourne Ultimatum,...

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

The Commune [Kollektivet] Movie Review

Veteran Danish filmmaker Thomas Vinterberg (Festen, The Hunt) returns to a smaller homegrown story after...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.