Transamerica

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Transamerica
Transamerica.JPG
Directed by Duncan Tucker
Produced by Rene Bastian, Sebastian Dungan, and Linda Moran
William H. Macy
Written by Duncan Tucker
Starring Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers, Fionnula Flanagan, Graham Greene, Burt Young, Elizabeth Peña
Music by David Mansfield
Cinematography Stephen Kazmierski
Editing by Pam Wise
Distributed by IFC Films & The Weinstein Company
Release date(s) December 23, 2005 (USA)
Running time 103 min
Language English
Budget USD$1,000,000

Transamerica is a Golden Globe-winning and Academy Award-nominated 2005 comedy-drama produced by IFC Films and The Weinstein Company. The film tells the story of Bree, a transsexual woman (Felicity Huffman), who goes on a road trip with her long-lost son Toby (Kevin Zegers).

The movie is marked by an Academy Award-nominated and Golden Globe-winning performance by Felicity Huffman, who is also known for her Emmy-award winning performance in Desperate Housewives.

Contents

Plot

One week before her vaginoplasty, Sabrina 'Bree' Osbourne (Felicity Huffman) receives a phone call from Toby Wilkins (Kevin Zegers), a 17-year old boy who is jailed in New York City. He asks for Stanley Schupak (Bree's former name), claiming to be his son.

Bree was previously unaware she had a son; she now wants to break with her past and ignore her son. She argues that with his age he can take care of himself. However, her therapist (Elizabeth Peña) refuses permission for her operation if she does not face up to her past.

Bree flies from Los Angeles to New York to bail Toby out of jail. Toby is a small-time drug user and male hustler. His mother committed suicide, after which he was raised by his stepfather, whom he does not want to see again.

Bree pretends to be a Christian missionary, and persuades Toby to ride with her back to the West Coast, secretly planning to leave him at his stepfather's along the way. When they arrive in Kentucky it turns out that Toby's stepfather is a sexual abuser, and so this plan fails. Toby and Bree continue to Los Angeles together. During the trip, Toby accidentally discovers that Bree is transsexual. He is open-minded about it, but is angry that Bree had not told him.

After their car and money are stolen by a "shaman" hitchhiker, Toby helps out by making some money with his prostitution. To Bree he pretends that he got the money from selling some drugs he had taken along for his own use. They get a ride with a kindly rancher Calvin Many Goats (Graham Greene) to Bree's parents' house in Phoenix, Arizona. Here they find her very Christian mother Elizabeth (Fionnula Flanagan), her Jewish father Murray (Burt Young), and her sister Sydney (Carrie Preston). Elizabeth is very negative about Bree's transsexuality, but excited about finding out she has a grandson. She is kind to Toby, and invites him to stay and live with them. Toby likes the luxury and kindness, but hesitates. Toby proposes to have sex with Bree, saying that he will live with her if she wants to. Now Bree tells Toby that she is his father. Toby is angry that she has not told that earlier, and disappointed in view of his fantasies how great his father might be. He leaves and travels on alone.

Back in Los Angeles Bree has her surgery. Toby, who also went to LA, becomes a pornographic actor in gay pornography films. A glimpse of a film shoot reveals that he has trouble having an erection every time that this is required, in spite of using Viagra. Toby visits Bree, and the two reconcile. He proudly shows a leaflet about an upcoming DVD in which he performs, and tells Bree that he can get her a discount. The film's final words of dialogue show that they have reached a level of mutual respect.

Trivia

  • Tagline: Life is more than the sum of its parts
  • The initial idea for the screenplay occurred in a conversation between screenwriter/director Duncan Tucker and intersex actress Katherine Connella. While discussing male/female perceptions, Connella shocked Tucker (they had been sharing a house for about four months at the time) with the revelation that she had been raised as a male.
  • This is the first non-Miramax film to be acquired by Harvey Weinstein and Bob Weinstein.
  • Dolly Parton wrote and performed the song played over the closing credits, Travelin' Thru, which was nominated for an Academy Award. It was her second nomination, her first being "9 to 5", twenty-five years earlier.
  • At her parents home, Bree shows Toby a photograph inside a photo album. The photo depicts Bree as a man (Stanley) along with Toby's mother. This is a copy of the same photograph that Toby had in his room in NYC, yet Toby doesn't initially appear to show surprise upon seeing this picture of his own mother and father in Bree's family photo album. He only shows surprise after Bree tells him that she/he is his father.

Awards (10) & Nominations (8)

  • Independent Spirit Awards
    • Won - Best Female Lead (Felicity Huffman)
    • Won - Best First Screenplay (Duncan Tucker)
    • Nominated - Best First Feature - (Duncan Tucker, Sebastian Dungan, Linda Moran, Rene Bastian)
  • Academy Awards
    • Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress (Felicity Huffman)
    • Nominated - Academy Award for Best Song (Dolly Parton, for the song Travelin' Thru)
  • Berlin International Film Festival
    • Won - Reader Jury of the "Siegessäule"
  • Broadcast Film Critics Association
    • Nominated - Best Actress (Felicity Huffman)
    • Nominated - Best Song (Dolly Parton, for the song "Travelin' Thru")
  • Deauville Film Festival
    • Won - Best Screenplay (Duncan Tucker)
    • Nominated - Grand Special Prize
  • GLAAD Media Award
    • Won - Outstanding Film - Limited Release
  • Golden Globes
    • Won - Best Actress in a Drama (Felicity Huffman)
    • Nominated - Best Original Song (Dolly Parton, for the song "Travelin' Thru")
  • National Board of Review
    • Won - Best Actress (Felicity Huffman)
  • Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards 2005
    • Won - Best Original Song (Dolly Parton, for the song "Travelin' Thru")
  • Satellite Awards
    • Won - Best Actress (Felicity Huffman)
  • Screen Actors Guild Award
    • Nominated - Best Actress in a Lead Role (Felicity Huffman)
  • Tribeca Film Festival
    • Won - Best Actress (Felicity Huffman)

External links

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*Some information provided in whole or in part by http://en.wikipedia.org/
*Some information provided in whole or in part by http://www.imdb.com/

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