Boys Don't Cry

118 minutes

Kimberly Peirce's first feature (1999), written with Andy Bienan, tells the disturbing story of Teena Brandon (Hilary Swank)—raped and murdered in late 1993 for impersonating a man—as harrowingly effective agitprop against sexual intolerance and hate crime. It's a film with all the earmarks of earlier work by American independent producer Christine Vachon (Poison, Swoon, Safe, I Shot Andy Warhol, Go Fish). In some ways the story is about class as much as sexuality, and within this framework the actors do a fine job—especially Chloe Sevigny as Teena's girlfriend Lana.

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