Sunday, November 14, 2010

Transamerica Film Review

Transamerica is a movie about Bree Osbourne who was formally Stanley Chupak, a very prim and proper pre-op male-to-female transsexual who holds down two jobs and saves every last penny so she can pay for her gender reassignment surgery. A week before her operation she receives a phone call from a young man named Toby who is in prison, and who makes his living by stealing and prostitution and who is claiming to be Stanley’s son. Now this kind of threw Bree for a loop but she still wanted to go ahead with her surgery. Unfortunately her therapist thought otherwise, she wanted Bree to go to New York and meet her son and come to terms with it. So Bree flies to New York and goes to bail out Toby who mistakes her for a church social worker. Bree offers Toby a ride to Los Angeles, where he has dreams of becoming an adult film star; however she does not disclose that she is his father.  They end up going on a cross-country road trip together and get to know one another. Along the way they get into some trouble when someone steals their car and end up being helped by a transgender support group, a Native American and even Bree’s own family which ends with Bree finally telling Toby she is his father.
Now I have wanted to see this movie since it came out and just never got around to it so I was excited to see it on our film list. In my opinion this was a great movie, and what I liked most about it was it showed all the things Bree had to go through just to be herself, which is something most of us take for granted.  She had to take hormones, take voice lessons, wear certain undergarments and undergo therapy and get two doctors signatures just to be able to schedule her surgery. It also showed how difficult it was for her when she finally visited her parents as a woman and how appalled they were at her life choices. In this movie though, which so rarely happens in real life, Bree’s parents were able to kind of come terms with their only son becoming a woman, I think they just missed her being in their lives.
This movie made me think of the two articles in class we read about transgendered individuals, “Just One of the Guys? How Transmen Make Gender Visible at Work” and “The Enemy Within: On Becoming a Straight White Guy”, the only difference being was that those articles were about female-to-male transsexuals and Bree was male-to-female. In Jacob Anderson-Minshell’s article he states that “when he became a man it was like he was suddenly a member of a special club where straight men swapped inside jokes with him and slapped him heartily on the back, they treat him with respect and are willing to see him as an authority”, so it makes you wonder how Bree must’ve felt by becoming a woman and losing all the “privileges” of being a man.
Works Cited:
Kimmel, Michael S. and Michael A. Messner Men's Lives. Eighth Edition. Boston, MA: Pearson Education, 2010
Tarrant, Shira Men Speak Out New York, New York: Routledge, 2008
Word Count:544


dominique.a said...

I would like to see this film too! Does the character Bree ever address losing social power by transitioning to life as a woman?

Adam-Scott said...

This was a very interesting movie. I thought it was cool to see Felicity Huffman perform transgendered. The way she walked, talked, and made-up her face calls into question just how much a costume can make or break gender constructs.