Boys Don't Cry

Ripped from the headlines, and previously a documentary, here’s the 1999 fictionalized account of the extraordinary life of Brandon Teena, a Nebraska girl who passed for a boy—and charmed the pants off a slew of girls—before meeting a violent end. Fodder for mass-market paperbacks and grad school theses, Brandon’s story contains all the elements of great American tragedy: A heroic misfit adrift in the heartland; reckless sexual passion; a brutal multiple murder. Add the implications of all these “normal” girls falling for another girl, and you’ve got a hero too remarkable for fiction. If Brandon hadn’t actually existed, it would be necessary to invent him. Hilary Swank gives an Oscar-winning performance as Brandon, as does Chloë Sevigny as her love interest. Yet director Kimberly Peirce hasn’t made their story a mawkish TV-movie-of-the week, relishing the trailer-park milieu where everyone wields a cigarette and a cocktail like characters out of Noel Coward. She romanticizes her gender outlaw hero, but Brandon’s story resonates with emotional, if not literal truth. (R) JACKIE McCARTHY

July 23-29, 7 & 9:45 p.m.; Thu., July 30, 9:45 p.m., 2009

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