|I missed the showing of "Inside Man" so I did get to see this film today and support team trans, which as I said is kind of how it felt. It was an interesting experience for me to feel I was seeing a flick as a trans girl, which is not a side I often find... "spoken to," irl. And as such, I found it interesting in myself that I felt this film was "representing" for me, and therefore had some obligations, and could disappoint me in that respect. Not something I would feel were I identifying as a straight man seeing "Firewall"; for the obvious reason that there are a great many straight white men in mainstream pictures, other than Harrison Ford, and so big-screen representation of straight white guys doesn't rest solely on Ford's shoulders. As there are far fewer trans women on screen, Bree has to do more... "work". It's obvious and perhaps banal but it was interesting to me anyhow.|
As a story, as a road-trip, buddy-movie and kind-of-comedy, I found the film about as dull as I'd expected for about two-thirds of the way: maybe until Calvin, and the peyote guy, and then Bree's parents. I didn't find it funny or novel, or moving. And actually I was getting kind of disappointed and pissed off with the representation of a trans woman, seeing as there aren't that many on screen and this one seemed to fit the standard type. It was annoying me that the big suspense was about the "reveal", the fact that Bree had a penis. It was annoying that she'd presumably lived as female for some time but had such awful dress sense and awkward movement, and seemed to sweat pancake make-up off in every scene, whereas female characters like the therapist weren't coded in anything like the same way. And it was annoying that she had to be so prissy and uptight, as if this was the only way she could figure out to act like a "woman": to be schoolmarmish and prim.
Actually, it did perk up for me a little with the tranny Caribbean cruise fund-raiser drinks night, which offered a sense of more variety within transsexuality - and some wit, play and banter, in contrast to Bree's stick-up-the-ass. I also dug the peyote thief's riff on transsexuals being a higher state of being, and Bree's anthropological information about people of inbetween gender being treated as high-status in certain communities. That was an interesting perspective, and it did make me think it'd be a change to see a transsexual in a film in that light, as transcendent in a good way, gender-euphoric, and fucking glamorous too, rather than the nervous, pill-popping nannyish-nightgowned apology that Bree was still pinned down to.
One thing I enjoyed by the end was the sense that different lifestyles, including the ultra-straight, had been problematised and shown as equally constructed or fucked-up, or built on secrets and lies. Bree's mom, for instance, was obviously screwed up about sex, seeing a dog's tail as a queasy reminder of a penis in the home; she was taking hormones and always wore a mask of make-up, except at night when she seemed to have some anti-ageing pads stuck under her eyes. So, just as much a masquerade as Bree.
It also satisfied me a little that Bree's prissy rendition of "femininity" seemed to relax after her operation; she never would have drooled before, or opened a bottle with her fist. It's understandable that living in stealth would make you antsy and over-compensate, and it makes sense, pleasingly, if she'd let that drop a little when she no longer had anything to hide.