Transamerica: OPEN SPOILERS

I didn’t see an existing thread devoted to Transamerica so if there is one I apologize. What did others think of this movie?
My opinions:
I thought the acting was great, the writing was “eh” and the plot too surreal for drama and not funny enough for comedy. The main problem for me was I didn’t like the main character, Bree. Before I’m flamed it had nothing to do with her transsexualism- it’s because she was a self absorbed byatch.

She learns not only that she has a son but a son who desperately needs her, and she’s too self absorbed to car. The fact she has a son reminds her that she was born a male, plus she’s so wrapped up in her operation and her own crises and self-pity that she doesn’t want to let another person into her life even though she’s essentially alone and could both give and receive from a relationship. She goes to attend to him ONLY because her psychiatrist (who’s come a long way since I Married Dora) blackmails her, then doesn’t come clean with him by telling him who she is (yes, it’ll come as a major shock to him, but he’s a hustler and a street kid and above all he has a right to know, he called you, he can handle it a lot better if you tell him up front). While her parents were indeed nightmarishly overbearing and genteely dysfunctional, she wasn’t helping the matter any by showing up on their doorstep with a kid and insisting they call her Bree and yet didn’t seem to appreciate the fact that they went against their values and convictions (which, warped as they may be, it’s their house and she’s 40 years old- you’re coming to them begging for charity and as such they have the right to make the rules, and I’d say that of my own less than accepting family), and then still doesn’t tell Toby who she is or who he is and who the grandparents are (and somehow he doesn’t ever think to notice the surname of the people he’s talking to and put 2 and 2 together).

Also, the plot is predictable. LONG before you see his stepfather you know why Toby left home (hint: he’s a smalltown kid who went to NYC and became a cheap whore- kids from happy or even moderately functional homes don’t do that), you know the hitchhiker’s gonna be bad news (it’s a movie and he’s a hitchhiker- hello!) and that the movie’s going to end with mother and son together somehow. There were some surprises along the way and Graham Greene was an excellent insert (as always) but by and large it made me want to see PRISCILLA again as it was not only funnier but somehow more real and deeper.

Of course I’ll admit one problem is that Felicity Huffman’s makeup often reminded me of Miss Coco Peru. Now that could have been one hell of a movie, especially the Revelation/Seduction scene:

“No… Toby… you can’t! You simply… get dressed! We can’t… oh alright, just this once… but remind me to tell you something when we’re finished. Say ‘Father’s Day’ and I’ll know what you’re talking about…”
On the plus side, Kevin Zegers is hotter than dragon ordure. Dear lord but if $20-$50 street hustlers really looked like that I’d invite him over and wouldn’t leave the house til I’d used all my savings, cashed in my loose change and my 401K, sold any piece of furniture I could live without, hit up everybody I knew for cash and sold plasma and stolen lawn furniture to get the next $20. That guy bypasses handsome into the realm of angelically gorgeous.

What’d y’all think?

Just saw the film last night, so I thought I’d give this lonely little thread a bump.

I enjoyed it quite a bit, myself. But I didn’t see it as Best Picture material. There were a lot of things I’d criticize about it.

I didn’t see her that way at all. She was a bit self-absorbed, but that’s because lonely and in the midst of a major life event. And she didn’t know how to react to having a child. If I was informed that I had a kid out of the blue, I think I’d probably feel a little bit ambivalent at first; and notice that her ambivalence basically disappears the moment she meets him. Frankly I have to wonder if I might do a whole lot worse if I was surprised like that.

That’s my major criticism of the story. I hate that particular comedy staple myself; someone accidentally or purposefully tells some lie about themself and then continually builds on it for weeks on end until everything comes crashing down. It’s an absolute cinematic cliché, and it’s not all that interesting a plot idea even aside from that. I really got tired of seeing excellent chances for Bree to tell her son that she was his father and then passing them up completely. I don’t find that kind of thing funny at all. It’s bad enough on sitcoms where the goofy guy claims to be an architect or something to impress a woman and then finds himself having to fake like he’s drawing blueprints so she doesn’t catch on. It’s worse here, and simply not really funny, because of the gravity of the situation.

Yep. Another major negative here - they telegraphed it so clearly that the kid might as well have had a neon sign over his head saying, “Stepdaddy touched me in my no-no place!” I guess you can rationalize it away by saying that Bree is completely clueless about the real world - but my experience has been that LGBT people tend to be a little bit more aware of that kind of thing, since most of us have a little more experience along the margins of society.

One minor note is about how Felicity Huffman played her character. I thought she was excellent in every other aspect of her performance, and I really like Felicity Huffman in general. But the affected way she talked just struck me as going overboard; I’ve known transgendered people whose voices matched their identity to varying degrees, but none of them had the same deeply affected quality that Bree had, as if every syllable she spoke required Herculean effort. It simply distracted me a lot of the time, and made it harder to relate to her.

After all this it’s hard for me to justify why I enjoyed the movie so much, but I really did think it was quite funny. I didn’t like the conceit of Bree concealing her relationship with her son, but I did like the dynamic between the two characters. I thought there were a lot of funny moments, and I thought the kid was particularly excellent at portraying some of the meanness you’d expect in a kid that age from his background, without making his character unsympathetic.

Holy goddamn is he beautiful. I mean distractingly hot. It was a bit hard to accept that some kid whose life had been so tough to him could possibly be that gorgeous. I almost think casting him was a bad choice for that reason, much as I enjoyed looking at him, because the two times that he sort of tried to seduce Bree (the first night in the hotel when he lay on the bed in those tiny underwear and the more explicit second time at Bree’s parents’ house) I was pulled right out of the moment and praying for him to get naked. Which I suspect is not the feeling those scenes were supposed to inspire.

Sweet Jesus but that boy is fine.

Incidentally, I have to say that I felt a bit of unease with the casting choice. There’s something a bit discomfiting to me about casting a very attractice woman actor to play a transwoman and then uglifying her with makeup. It seems to me that a more true-to-life approach would be to cast either a male actor or a transgendered one, or else to cast a woman but not deliberately make her ugly - after all, there are plenty of transgendered people who “pass” with no difficulty at all and I’ve known some very attractive transgendered people.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it bothers me here, but I really don’t know if I think it was the right choice.

I’m not sure why they didn’t use a trans-actress, but using a man would have been a bad idea. I did enjoy this movie very much. It wasn’t so much a film about a transwoman getting SRS, but a classic road movie. Kevin was hot (he should have left his clothes in the car). Speaking of nudity, did Huffman do her own nude scene or was it a body double? And is it true that not even an OB/GYN could tell she wasn’t a GG after her surgery? The ending was good. And it’s possible Toby didn’t know what their surname was. If they were keeping Bree’s secret the wouldn’t mention their name and I doubt Toby would ask. Of course he should have realized something was weird with the way Elizabeth was acting, but his experiances with families are warped.