8:00 PM, 4th August, 2006
Transamerica, despite first impressions, is not just a feel-good American film dutifully moralising on transgender issues: the transgender part is almost incidental to the real story. Felicity Huffman delivers a memorable performance as Bree/Stanley, a preoperative male-to-female transsexual, who discovers, at an impossibly inconvenient time in her life, that she has a delinquent' teenage son, Toby. After a series of serious life choices, she fakes being a Christian missionary and bails the boy out of a detention centre. They both embark on a road trip across the country (different agendas) and, as they traverse the land, encounter all sorts of eccentric characters and amusing situations (watch out for Greene as the New Mexico rancher). After an incident travelling through suburbia, Bree, in desperation, is forced to confront her parents - particularly her mother - who blatantly shows her repulsion, dismay and incomprehension at what 'happened' to her son Stanley. Although all of this may sound like a recipe for excessive melodrama, even the excessively melodramatic parts are painfully accurate in showing the messy, complicated love that people try to communicate to each other. Bree and Toby are both deeply vulnerable but possess an essential sweetness and strength of character that is portrayed sensitively and empathetically (and with a lot of humour). It is interesting to watch as they form an uncommon but genuine bond.
10:44 PM, 4th August, 2006
In 1934 Paris, Victoria (Andrews) is a talented but unemployed singer, who meets and befriends Toddy (Preston), a gay impresario. He convinces Victoria to change her image and seek work as a female impersonator. This means, of course, that she must first convince the world of cabaret that she is a man in order to impersonate a woman! Chicago gangster King Marchan (Garner) is intrigued by Victor/Victoria, his girlfriend Norma (Warren) takes a liking to the charming Toddy, while Kings bodyguard is concerned about his new "lifestyle" choice. Enter the Mob, and they become really confused. Writer/director Blake Edwards, better known for the Pink Panther movies, emphasises wit and farce rather than slapstick, Preston practically steals the movie with his likeable performance, and Henry Mancini won an Oscar for his music.