T Films! (Part 1)
Summertime is, of course, one of the two major seasons for high-profile movies. Big name blockbusters (they hope) come out just about every weekend from early May through early August. Then it quiets down for a while with another shorter burst during the Thanksgiving-Christmas season. Movies are on my mind tonight, but not so much those movies as the smaller, quieter movies and in particular, the ones which feature trans-gender premises, themes, or characters.
There are, of course, several lists floating around the internet which lists off the best or most important trans-related films, but you hardly ever see one that’s comprehensive. I confess that I’ve not made a study of trans films, though there are several I’m resolved to make a point of seeing (more on that in a bit) but I remember over the years a lot of films that had at least a cross-dressing element to the plot. For instance, most lists of trans-related films wouldn’t mention “Some Like it Hot” because the cross-dressing is not done, per se, by crossdressERs – it’s simply a plot device. The list of such films is really long, and some of them are better done than others. Then there’s the gag film where :”normal” man is forced into the role of a woman (or, much more seldom, vice versa) in ways which often make for entertaining comedy (Mrs. Doubtfire) and even occasionally make an actual point (Tootsie) but much more often are just lowbrow comedy (“Dr. Jeckel and Ms. Hyde,” for instance) which is, to be sure, just fine.
But again, like “Some Like It Hot” – these are usually not characters who have cross-gender intentions, they temporary transition is merely a plot device. When people make list of important or quality trans-films, most of the time (not all) the movie cited deals with intentional cross-gender behavior or transition. Frankly, I feel I’m really ignorant on this subject so I’m going to offer my own short lists, and then open the floor for the reader to make suggestions of their own favorite examples.
Here are the top trans-related films that are highly recommended that I have not, myself, seen but are at the top of my watch list:
(all movies include a link to a description for those you haven’t heard about)
(also note, some of these will be TV movies rather than theatrical releases)
8. Soldier’s Girl – having become acquainted online with the transwoman who’s story is involved in the plot of this movie (Calpernia Adams) I have a particular interest in this one.
7. Different for Girls – the weird thing about this one for me is that recently I noted a writing contest, with the prize being publication accompanied by a $10k advance, which asked for “unusual love stories” and the story that popped into my head has a lot of similarities to the premise of this film, though I’ve never seen it and didn’t know what it was about until I started reading some summaries in order to make this list (the list of trans movies I want to see, not this blog post specifically)
6. Orlando – I actually never heard of this one until recently. The plot summary sounds like something I’d really enjoy though.
5. The Adventures of Sebastian Cole – about as obscure a title as you are likely to find, but recommended as an excellent trans-film – plus it stars Clark Gregg!
4. The Crying Game – yes, shockingly, I’ve never seen this film. I’m not sure how that happened but it needs fixing.
3. Hedwig and the Angry Inch – I’d heard the expression “the angry inch” before but never realized it was connected to a movie until recently. But I’ve picked up on the film’s unusual reputation so I’ve put it on my list. However, it’s a controversial film that some folks consider, in fact, anti-trans and part of why I want to see it is to decide for myself.
2. Boys Don’t Cry – Usually listed as perhaps the best transfilm ever, it’s only second on my list because I don’t relate quite so much with the F2M emotion as vice-versa.
1. Breakfast on Pluto – This one has been on my list too long, because I absolutely adore Cillian Murphy’s work. But I always seem to forget it when I’m having a “what will I watch today?” opportunity.
Coming up in Part 2: My take on the trans-films that I HAVE seen. (hey, how could it be a movie post without a sequel, right?)
Photo by: Susan NYC