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Transamerica, Duncan Tucker (2005)

Felicity Huffman’s performance here is pretty much perfect. That’s a good reason to see the movie; another is that it’s a really nice story. Nice, nice, nice. A proper, prim, stealth transsexual on the eve of reassignment surgery discovers she has a son who’s a delinquent hustler. The plot, from that point forward, is predictable. The priss lightens up, the urchin gets wise, both do a lot of learning and hugging, and, for good metaphorical measure, they accomplish these transitions as they road trip together across the USA.

The most interesting thing about the movie to me is that the transsexualism angle, which is of course the main “hook,” is actually incidental. The main character could have had any socially stigmatized but actually harmless characteristic, from albinism to Zoroastrianism, and the plot could have worked in exactly the same way. Had this movie been made forty years ago, the main character would have been a dark-skinned African American and her son light-skinned. I wonder what it might be forty years from now.

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