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Boys Don’t Cry

September 11, 2009

I just realized that Boys Don’t Cry is going to be on TV in an hour. It might be the scariest movie I’ll ever see, but I want to try and watch it. I’ve made a promise to myself: I’m going to stop watching if the film gets too strong. Maybe I should switch off the TV as soon as Brandon is about to get raped. Has anyone seen it? Should I avoid the ending?

Edit: The TV guide was wrong — Boy’s Don’t Cry isn’t showing. I still intend to watch it someday.

15 Comments leave one →
  1. Sui permalink
    September 11, 2009 3:02 pm

    If you do ever get the chance to watch this movie, do it. For me, it definitely was the scariest movie I’ve ever seen or will see, there’s no question about that. No single movie has ever affected me so profoundly. What made it such a powerful movie for me, and so hard to watch, was that it was the first time I’d ever seen a trans guy before, in film or anything, so for the first time ever I was seeing a reflection of myself and then with what happens in the end, that was terrifying to me. The rape scene is extremely difficult to watch, I didn’t close my eyes but if I watched it again I think I would. (I borrowed the movie from a friend, my sister hasn’t seen it and I want her to but I don’t know if I can handle watching it with her.) You shouldn’t avoid the ending though, what happens after is still important to watch. It’s a movie that should definitely be watched at least once but doesn’t need to be watched any more than that, it’s not a movie you’re likely to forget.

  2. September 12, 2009 2:23 am

    Do watch it. I didn’t consider it “scary”, personally. People get hurt and murdered due to intolerance, fear, misconceptions, might makes right notions, sexism, racism, transphobia, heterosexism, on and on and on every day. Instead of being scared by this movie, I feel good that his story was shared and utilized to educate. What happened to him was covered in an honest way that shows the emotional depth of the situation used the tragedy to provoke emotion in an audience that may have otherwise never heard of him or ever thought of trans people. It’s VERY emotional, but also very inspiring in its own way.

    Watch it. :]

  3. September 12, 2009 2:28 am

    p.s. not to say that all of the above aren’t “scary”. I was intending to convey that movies about the above don’t scare me as much as they provoke me emotionally and inspire me, and do a lot to educate people AND break down those barriers of intolerance that cause violence in the first place. I’m assuming it would do the same for you, too. Just thought I’d elaborate on that. :]

  4. September 12, 2009 4:30 am

    I saw it in the theater on the big screen. Very very hard. I find it easier to handle difficult material on a small screen. The scenes (to me) are as bad as you fear, and as difficult to watch. I’m not sorry I saw the movie. I’m sorry that it’s true, in the most honest sense of the word.

    I’d recommend watching it with a close friend, during the day, then doing something light and distracting. It’s grief inducing: I needed time for the ugliness to calm down a little before I could even begin to think about going to sleep. It certainly pushed every fear button I have, and I’m just a plain old dyke. I can only imagine what it would be like to watch that movie as trans.

    Take care,
    Jane

  5. September 12, 2009 8:52 pm

    Boys Don’t Cry is definitely a great movie, and one that you should watch sometime, but it’s really intense. It didn’t make me feel particularly scared, just extremely angry. I definitely recommend watching it with someone, or having someone to talk with after the film.

  6. September 12, 2009 10:29 pm

    Thanks for the suggestions; I already picked a friend to talk to afterward.

    I’ve started preparing myself by watching the documentary “The Brandon Teena Story” on Youtube. It shows interviews with the people involved: Brandon’s ex-girlfriends, family, friends — and his killers. Everyone talks in a calm tone, which probably makes it much easier to watch than the movie, but it’s still mind-numbing: how can the murderers talk calmly about how they killed people?! How could they speak about this while SMIRKING?

    I think seeing this documentary has prepared me enough to watch Boys Don’t Cry. At least I know exactly what’s going to happen. I didn’t like it too much –it probably wouldn’t even make a trans-ignorant viewer empathize– but I think it’s an important record of how that particular community viewed trans issues. Most people were extremely transphobic — they kept calling Brandon a deceiver and wanted him to leave town (although, if you’ve seen the movie, you probably know that already). Kate Bornstein is interviewed towards the end and she’s so shocked by the hatred that she can hardly speak.

  7. nome permalink
    September 13, 2009 2:13 am

    I saw this movie when I was 10. I didn’t understand myself really too well but understood I was somehow not fitting into gender and was attracted to both sexes. “Boys Don’t Cry” was sadly my intro into queer AND trans life. It was an extremely terrifying movie for me and I feel like I’ve even suppressed the memory because I only remember one scene. I strongly suggest watching with someone who can be supportive during and after. It probably is a great movie but I can’t even watch the trailer.

    Good luck with whatever you choose!

  8. September 14, 2009 12:58 am

    Thanks for the info on The Brandon Teena Story! I’ve seen Boys Don’t Cry, but never the documentary so I’ll definitely take a look at it.

    Boys Don’t Cry was really hard for me to watch. The first time through I turned it off before the rape scene, but I was finally able to get through it last year. I’ll second the above– watch it with a friend during the day and do something light afterwards. It also might help to watch it in parts; I know some people hate watching a movie that way, but I found it a lot easier to watch some of it, get out of the house and do something fun, and then watch some more.

  9. joaquinjack permalink
    September 14, 2009 2:45 am

    Jesus, I’ve always wanted to watch it, but the way everyone’s talking about it, I’m not so sure anymore. Even watching Transamerica put me in a weird place for a couple days- well, to the point that I really wanted to talk about things that had been bothering me for a long time, and the movie gave me a real forum from which to voice them, but the people who’d seen the movie with me thought that it was the movie that made me think them in the first place! It was awful, people thinking that I was deriving delusions from a bit of cinema when all it did was bring my thoughts closer to the surface, make them more raw.

    I’m thinking that, of all things, I DON’T want to watch Boys Don’t Cry with anyone, because I’m pretty sure it’ll be that scenario all over again- people who don’t understand, thinking I’m going through “a phase.”

  10. Andrew permalink
    September 14, 2009 10:14 am

    For some reason this was the movie they chose to show during pride week at the first University I attended. I wasn’t out as trans at the time so I kind of just shied away from going to the movie, claiming I was tired or some such bull.

    It’s a really hard movie to sit through and I found it easier to watch it by myself the first time so I knew how I would react, as well as what was coming up for any well-timed bathroom breaks I may decide to take during it.

    I have had to sit through it a few more times since then, and every time I just happen to leave the room for a little during certain scenes.

  11. Johnny permalink
    September 15, 2009 2:40 am

    personally, i have a terrible time watching any trans related things on the TV or in video, so no, i have never seen it, but like others have said before me, i would definitely recommend having someone with you there, or after for support.

  12. SociologicalMe permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:28 pm

    I found it very, very hard to watch- even as a cis woman. I watched it nearly ten years ago, and I know I’m not ready for a repeat yet. Might not ever be.

  13. Mollie permalink
    September 17, 2009 3:33 am

    Not gonna lie, this movie scared the shit out of me. I agree with Keegs, do something afterwards. I didn’t do that, I just went to bed. Not a good idea =(

  14. September 21, 2009 2:41 pm

    *sorry for commenting late*

    I saw Boys Don’t Cry a few years ago. My last semester of school, I took a philosophy class about the concept of evil. The reading material included accounts of Holocaust survivors, “Swallows of Kabul,” and “The Painted Bird.” My 30+ classmates were all emotionally exhausted and disturbed by these readings; a lot of them just stopped after a chapter or so because they couldn’t go on. Because I had already gone through the emotional upset from Boys Don’t Cry, these books didn’t bother me.

    I’m a little glad that I don’t have to go through how horrible Boys Don’t Cry made me feel anymore, but I also feel tainted.

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