Directed by: DUNCAN TUCKER
HUFFMAN, KEVIN ZEGGERS, FIONNULA FLANAGAN, BURT
YOUNG, GRAHAM GREENE, ELIZABETH PENA
Released by: The Weinstein
Short: Felicity Huffman gives a tour-de-force
performance as a preoperative transgender man
whose planned sex-change operation hits a huge
snag that triggers a memorable road trip.
He is a She
Gender-bending Road Trip
have been plenty of movies made about road trips; in fact,
many might think that the road trip genre has grown predictable
and tired. But then a film like "Transamerica"
comes along, proving that any genre can be as fresh and
fascinating as the first time we encountered it. Felicity
Huffman stars in this gender-bending comedic drama as
Stanley "Bree" Osbourne, an Angeleno man who
is in the closing stages of changing his sex to female.
In fact, as the movie begins, he's almost transformed
into a woman, via hormone treatments and psychotherapy.
He certainly looks female, in an unattractive sort of
way. There's only the final (gulp!) operation, scheduled
for about a week away, before he becomes a she.
as Bree is making final preparations, everything changes.
He discovers that not only does he have a teenage son,
Toby, in New York, but the boy’s mother has died
and Toby is in jail. Thus begins a turned-on-its-head
road trip, as Bree heads for New York to rescue the teen,
deftly played by the darkly handsome Kevin Zegers. Toby
is unaware that Bree is his biological father, but together
they end up an unlikely pair trekking across America,
forming an odd, compelling relationship as the miles roll
lead actors, as well as all the assorted characters they
meet along the way, are exemplary, with especially brilliant
performances coming from Graham Greene as a rancher who
falls for Bree, and Fionnula Flanagan as Bree's mother,
who refuses to accept the fact that her son is about to
become her daughter.
it is Felicity Huffman's multilayered turn as a man desperate
to become a woman that is at the center of the movie,
giving resonance and truth to a story that could easily
have devolved into a campy stunt. Instead, "Transamerica"
is a triumph, both for her and for first time writer-director
Duncan Tucker. It's funny, poignant, truthful and ultimately
a terrific movie about family, love and acceptance that
is very likely to bring Huffman lots of golden statues
come awards time. She's already been nominated for an
Independent Spirit Award, as has Tucker for his screenplay
and the film; more recognition is sure to follow.