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Boys Don't Cry

Boys Don't Cry

4.5 23
Director: Kimberly Peirce, Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard

Cast: Kimberly Peirce, Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Peter Sarsgaard


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Based on a true story, this drama was adapted from the life of Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, a woman who chose to live her life as a man and suffered tragic consequences as a result. In 1993, 20-year-old Brandon (Hilary Swank) leaves Lincoln, Nebraska for the nearby community of Falls City, where she sports a crew cut, favors jeans and boots, and is regarded as a


Based on a true story, this drama was adapted from the life of Brandon Teena, born Teena Brandon, a woman who chose to live her life as a man and suffered tragic consequences as a result. In 1993, 20-year-old Brandon (Hilary Swank) leaves Lincoln, Nebraska for the nearby community of Falls City, where she sports a crew cut, favors jeans and boots, and is regarded as a man by most of the people in town. While Brandon's friend Lonny (Matt McGrath) warns her that sexual outsiders aren't looked upon kindly in Falls City, she develops a reputation for being something of a ladies' man, and is soon living with a single mother named Candace (Alicia Goranson). But when Brandon meets teenage Lana (Chloe Sevigny), the two become romantically involved almost immediately. Brandon makes friends with Lana's mother (Jeanetta Arnette) and a burly ex-con named John (Peter Sarsgaard). John and his buddy Tom (Brendan Sexton) run with a rough group of men who like to drink and carouse, and they accept Brandon as one of their own. However, when Brandon ends up in jail on a traffic violation, her secret comes out, and, while Lana stands by Brandon's side, John and Tom feel betrayed -- and their anger soon boils over into violence. A distinguished feature debut for director Kimberly Peirce, Boys Don't Cry was enthusiastically received in its showings at 1999 film festivals in Venice, Toronto, and New York.

Editorial Reviews

All Movie Guide - Jason Clark
With what was possibly the most acclaimed independent debut film since Quentin Tarantino's Reservoir Dogs, first-time director Kimberly Peirce paints an unforgettable portrait of small-town doldrums and gender identity crisis, using the harrowing tale of Teena Brandon, a young Nebraska girl who successfully passed herself off as a male, resulting in a violent attack on her life. Expertly realized by Peirce, the film is straightforward, uncompromised filmmaking, and smartly removes any traces of martyrdom or cheap sentiment in exploring its fascinating lead case study. More than any film about gender identity preceding it, Boys doesn't resort to needless exposition in order to translate the story to the uninitiated. This factor is best actualized by the film's sterling cast, including Hilary Swank in a mesmerizing, dexterous performance as Brandon; Chloe Sevigny, heartbreaking and faultless as Brandon's love interest; and Peter Sarsgaard, hypnotically and believably menacing as one of Brandon's eventual assailants. In a robust Best Actress victory, lead actress Swank managed to beat perennial favorite Annette Bening to the Oscar podium in 1999, proving that being a relatively new talent to motion pictures was by no means a deterrent to the recognition of her significant achievement. (Many noted that not since Simone Signoret's win for 1959's Room at the Top had an actress in an independently-produced film received the statuette.) The events of Boys are also covered in a documentary film about the same subject, The Brandon Teena Story, which recounts some material in a different light.

Product Details

Release Date:
Original Release:
Fox Searchlight
Region Code:

Special Features

Director's commentary; Featurette; Trailers and TV spots

Cast & Crew

Performance Credits
Hilary Swank Brandon Teena
Chloë Sevigny Lana
Peter Sarsgaard John
Brendan Sexton Marvin Thomas 'Tom' Nissen
Alison Folland Kate
Alicia Goranson Candace
Matt McGrath Lonny
Rob Campbell Brian
Jeanetta Arnette Lana's Mom
Lou Perryman Sheriff

Technical Credits
Kimberly Peirce Director,Screenwriter
Kerry Barden Casting
Andy Bienen Screenwriter
Jim Denault Cinematographer
Victoria Farrell Costumes/Costume Designer
Tracy S. Granger Editor
John Hart Producer
Billy Hopkins Casting
Caroline Kaplan Executive Producer
Pamela Koffler Executive Producer
Eva Kolodner Producer
Nathan Larson Score Composer
Jennifer McNamara Casting
Mack Melson Sound/Sound Designer
Lee Percy Editor
Randall Poster Musical Direction/Supervision
Jonathan Sehring Executive Producer
Jeff Sharp Producer
Michael Shaw Production Designer
Bradford Simpson Associate Producer
John Sloss Executive Producer
Suzanne Smith Casting
Morton Swinsky Co-producer
Christine Vachon Producer


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Boys Don't Cry 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 23 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Swank's blockbuster performance as trans-gendered Brandon Teena earned her a richly deserved Oscar. Chloe Sevigny delivers a memorable turn as Lana Tisdel, Brandon's love interest. Although some of the facts have been changed for dramatic purposes, Director Kimberly Pierce does a good job of telling the sad story of Brandon Teena. This movie blew me away!
Guest More than 1 year ago
it is a good film and i would like thank the people for making it like the blokes . are out of order. for killing her like i say don't take the book by it cover.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was a masterpiece. Swank was absolutely terrific in this movie about love, hatred, and brutalization. The movie portrayed a strong sense of modern gay life and the realistic hatred around the sexuality. The movie was scary in a dramatic intense fashion that should not be viewed by anyone under the age of 18, but was real. 100% real. I strongly reccomend this film if you are over the age of 18 and have not yet seen it.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Being only 15, but very intrested in hate crime victims like Brandon Teena, Matt Shepard, and Brian Deneke, I thought I'd rent this movie. I'd read a little about Brandon Teena and wanted 2 know more; after seeing the whole movie I was devastated 4 what Brandon went through and p!ssed at what society is still like today. It was a great movie, I hope to buy it on DVD soon.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I loved this movie! It was so sad. The first time I seen it I cried like a baby! It must have been so hard of Brandon. I can't even imagine what was going through his head when he knew that they were going to take his life. This movie is great! Swank was outstanding! Everyone should see this movie and maybe there won't be so many hate crimes going on, but yeah right people who don't like gays or lesbians and have taking part in a hate crime won't stop just because they watch a movie... but you never know. R.I.P Brandon Teena :(
Guest More than 1 year ago
To be honest I did not expect to see all that I saw in this movie. Everything in this movie was on 10 and for some reason or another I expected it to be like most movies I had seen where the emotion is more spread out but this required active viewing. To date it's probably the best acting I have seen so far. It exposed the lives of some people that I don't quite understand but I saw Hilary Swank's character, Brandon Teena, as a person as real as anyone I know (in fact more real)and the end saddened me. I don't know if I will ever watch it again because of how confrontational it was to me, a person who was used to 'cutesy teen movies' but it left an impression on me that I will never forget. Now that I recall, since then I am less and less into 'typical teen movies' and pay attention to plot development and the actual performances in a role and if I find the movie to be believable. This movie evoked every emotion; everything from laughter to sadness so I would recommend to anyone who wants to see this to be prepared for you to rediscover what you think about all people and to have some dormant emotions brought to the surface.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was great, although I could not stop crying for two days. It is movies like these that really make one think about humanity and how utterly cruel and sick some people are (the disgusting human beings that killed brandon teena and others). Chloe Sevigny and Hilary Swank gives very good performances. It definetly sticks with you for several days after the movie. Recommended, but with precaution. It may cause you to become outraged and full of despair.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This story and movie touched me so much. I knew the story before seeing the movie, but my whole perspective was different after seeing it. The cast couldn't have been picked better.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Boys Don't Cry is a perversion of reality. It claims to be a retelling of the events that took place in Richardson County, Nebraska in 1993. Being myself from Falls City, the town where most of the action in the film takes place, I can tell you that there is little about the film that is an accurate representation of the community, or even the events surrounding the murders. Falls City, Nebraska is portrayed as a redneck Mecca, where intolerance and ignorance personified are the norm. To be sure it is a very rural area. However, individuals are portrayed as having nearly southern accents, nearly everyone wears cowboy hats, and 'bumper skiing' a fictional passtime invented for the purposes of the film is used to show the shallowness of the locals. It would be easy to get the idea that Falls City, Nebraska was in the deep south (although this portrayal would be unfair there as well) rather than the heart of the midwest by watching this film. Other details are wholly wrong as well. The community is actually much smaller than it is actually portrayed, but decidedly less vulgar. The bar scenes that take place in this movie occur in a bar that is at least 3 times the size of any bar in the town, not to mention the lack of the hordes of aimless neanderthals leering about pictured in the film. Also, interestingly enough the filmmakers felt the need to create a large ravine or canyon of some sort for one scene when nothing even similar, or anything that even remotely resembles this actually exists, but this was more puzzling and amusing than malicious unlike some other portrayals. These misrepresentations are disturbing to me because I know the reality of the community being portrayed, but they might even be forgivable because of the artistic liberties taken by filmmakers in order to create an entertaining film. However, what is horrifying is the film's treatment of the actual events of the murders. Firstly, the murders did not occur in Falls City as the film suggests, but instead occurred in the country over 20 miles away from Falls City near Humboldt, Nebraska. Second, the number and identity of the victims is misrepresented in the film. In reality, Teena Brandon, as well as three other people were murdered when Lotter and Nissen came to kill Brandon who was staying at a friend's house. Of the victims, one was the friend of Brandon, one was Brandon, and two others were killed merely by chance because they happened to be staying with Brandon's friend on the fateful night. None of this is accurately shown in the film. Third, there is no proof that Lana Tisdel ever had a sexual relationship with Teena Brandon, and no evidence to prove that their relationship was anything more than a friendship. Fourth, there is no evidence that Lana Tisdel was ever at the scene of the crime. It is certain that Tisdel never witnessed the murders and was definitely not at the scene of the crime when the police arrived. She certainly did not lose consciousness amongst the dying victims as portrayed in the film. This film hopes to present a heroic account of Brandon's life in the form of a romantic tragedy. The problem is that the facts are not conducive to this romanticized account of a cold blooded quadruple homicide. This film deserved no awards of any kind.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This has got to be one of the saddest movies I've ever seen. It touched a little to close to home in some parts. I loved the whole mode of the movie. The lighting and sounds could not have been more perfect. It really puts you IN the movie. I would recomend this movie to everyone
Guest More than 1 year ago
Because I knew the general story before I even watched the film, I spent every scene change afraid that this would be the moment. The fact that, knowing the terrifying, horrific end, I still watched every second absolutely glued to the screen is a true testament to the quality of this film. I don't know that I could watch it again, but the images linger...... welcome to the tragic reality of the modern gay life.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Swank is so good as the lead in this movie! Truly a great performance. The film is nearly flawless..but disturbing nonetheless. In my Top 25 of All Time. It plays out very sincerely, unlike say Pearl Harbor, which , although enjoyable, has a lot of falseness tugging at the viewer's sentimentality.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I watched this movie 3 years ago. It never left my head. This,i must say, was my favorite of all movies.This movie really touched me.I couldnt be more suprised on my reaction to this movie. But i guess great movies with a true meaning do that....soundtrack is great too.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is a very gory and graphic but good movie. It's about a young woman who one day shaves her head and try's to become a boy. I can't tell you the rest cause it would spoil the movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This movie was amazing.Hilary Swank blew my mind in this movie. so what if its not the EXACT thing that happened. It was touching and made people aware of what sadly happened to tena brandon. it makes you realize how terrible prejudice can be.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This is the ultimate movie for any gay/lesbian person to see. It shows the battles that must be overcome in life. I laughed and I cried. Boys Don't Cry is the ultimate movie of the 21st Century.
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Guest More than 1 year ago
well, i have to say I really loved this movie and have been captivated by the story itself. I keep trying to get a hold of the book, 'All She Ever Wanted' but I don't have the money to yet. I can relate to Brandon in a big way, but not completely. Still, cool movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
I really liked this movie because it gave an honest portrayal of the tribulations Brandon Teena had to go through just so he could feel 'accepted.' Hilary Swank does an excellent job, as well as Chloe Sevigny. Both deserved Oscars. Peter Sarsgaard is also in this and is one of my favorite actors. I found myself crying at the end and hope that events like those don't happen in our world. It is ok to be different! Anyone who says they did not like this movie either did not understand it or just does not like the idea of anyone who is not 'normal.' Great Movie.
Guest More than 1 year ago
this story is based on my best friends mom and it is nothing like what happended.