Saturday, March 25, 2006

TRANSAMERICA - like CAPOTE and TSOTSI - a great central performance in a mediocre movie

There's not a whole lot I want to say about TRANSAMERICA. By now, with the Oscar hoopla over with, pretty much everyone knows that the movie contains a fantastic central performance from Felicity Huffman. Huffman plays a pre-operative trans-sexual who, on the eve of "her" gender re-assignment, discovers that she fathered a child. Posing as a religious worker, she picks up her son in New York and drives him cross country. Felicity Huffman's performance is one of subtlety and authenticity. I took a person who has never seen Desperate Housewives(!) to see this flick, and he did not twig that the trans-sexual, "Bree", was being played by a woman. However, I found the rest of the film chock-full of road-movie cliches, and something of a paint-by-numbers Indie film. It's all here: junkie, hustler teenage drifter son; wise Native American; mean and nasty middle-American mother....Perhaps the director felt that with such challenging core material, he had to situate Bree's story is a conventional genre movie. Alls I know is that while Huffman's on-screen persona is an act of award-worthy transformation, the movie itself was pretty mediocre and left me unimpressed and largely unmoved.

TRANSAMERICA premiered at Berlin 2005 and is currently on release in the US and UK. It hits France on April 26th 2006.

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