Movie Magazine International

Brandon Teena Story

USA - 1998

Movie Review By Moira Sullivan

The Brandon Teena Story is now out on video in the US. In case you’ve missed it, now is the time to see this film which explores factual material interpreted in Boys Don’t Cry.

The protrayal of sex change hit a nerve in the gay community in the US with the controversial serial murderer of Silence of the Lambs--who supposedly killed women because he was denied a sex change operation. Perhaps Boys Dont Cry can further the dialogue on the use of images in this respect.

The exhibition of both documentary and film on Brandon Teena is timely, previously reviewed in Movie Magazine by myself and Monica Sullivan. There are differences when documentaries and feature films are based on real events. The other murders of Lisa Lambert and Phillip Devine with Brandon Teena were omitted in Boys Don’t Cry and one wonders why.

It is clear from the documentary by Susan Muska and Greta Olafsdottir that Teena Brandon, as he was known in Falls City Ohio, had more friends than enemies. That Lana 'was going down’ because of her association with Brandon was barely alluded to in the documentary but in Boy’s Don't Cry, it becomes the causal link to his murder where Lana was 'rescued' by Brandon's murderers, John Lotter and Tom Nissen.

The legal process receives much more attention in the documentary where U.S. Marshalls Ron Shepard and Randy Chopp point out the legal ramifications of the trial. We also see Brandon’s family-- his sister, friends, and mother who is in the process of suing for the wrongful death of Brandon because of police incompetence. Both in the film and documentary we witness the officer who took the report and harassed Brandon with intrusive questions --proof that rape victims are justified in not wanting to report rape because of the humiliation involved. We also see the support of transsexuals at the trial who come to support the memory of Brandon Teena.

Because Brandon Teenas life is more than a story with movie rights, mainstream America has the opportunity to investigate the facts in both fictionalized film and documentary.

© 2000 - Moira Sullivan - Air Date: 4/00

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