Boys Don't Cry


Universal acclaim - based on 33 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 32 out of 33
  2. Negative: 0 out of 33

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Critic Reviews

  1. 100
    One of the best films of the year.
  2. There may not be a better- acted film this year.
  3. 100
    An exceptional--and exceptionally disturbing--film from a first-time director and writer (with Andy Bienen) named Kimberly Pierce. Unflinching, uncompromising, made with complete conviction and rare skill.
  4. An amazing work, a film that seems to gurgle up from the American heartland, resonant and fully formed, ripe with possibilities.
  5. For a movie that ends in the profoundest depths of sadness, Boys Don't Cry contains one of the year's purest moments of joy.
  6. Reviewed by: Jay Carr
    "In Cold Blood," "Badlands," "The Executioner's Song," and now, joining those grisly milestones on the heartland hit list, and every bit their equal, is Boys Don't Cry.
  7. It's Swank, however, who's the revelation. By the end, her Brandon/Teena is beyond male or female. It's as if we were simply glimpsing the character's soul, in all its yearning and conflicted beauty.
  8. A radically disturbing and memorable movie whose images don't easily fade or diminish in power.
  9. 90
    Scorches the screen like a prairie fire.
  10. Reviewed by: David Ansen
    Peirce's taut, sure-footed first film sidesteps sensationalism without sacrificing any of the story's wonder and horror
  11. The longest, hardest sit of the season -- you are stuck there, a single tube of puckered muscle, waiting for the extremely ugly violence to occur -- but it is driven by performances of such luminous humanity that they break your heart.
  12. Reviewed by: Emanuel Levy
    The poignant and candid Boys Don't Cry can be seen as a "Rebel Without a Cause" for these culturally diverse and complex times, with the two misfit girls enacting a version of the James Dean/Natalie Wood romance with utmost conviction.
  13. Stunning...a film much tougher and more transfixing than its wan title.
  14. 88
    A remarkable movie that merits a place alongside "The Executioner's Song" and "In Cold Blood" as an unforgettable depiction of tragedy in the heartland.
  15. USA Today
    Reviewed by: Mike Clark
    A weeper poised to endure as one of the dominant independent features of the year.
  16. Boys Don't Cry's intensity sneaks up on you like a snake.
  17. New York Post
    Reviewed by: Jonathan Foreman
    A haunting, superbly made film. But it's also an unrelentingly sad and depressing experience.
  18. 88
    A stirring, emotionally true testament to foolish bravery as well as shameful evidence of the severity with which it is so often punished.
  19. Philadelphia Inquirer
    Reviewed by: Steven Rea
    To say this bone-chilling, gut-turning feature is "The Crying Game"-meets-"In Cold Blood." But this is a film - writer/director Peirce's first - that matches those pictures in power, in surprise, and in unnerving drama.
  20. A powerful, deeply moving tale, immeasurably facilitated by the performance of relatively unknown Hilary Swank as Brandon...smartly shot and edited, and the performances are dead-on.
  21. Portland Oregonian
    Reviewed by: Shawn Levy
    A kick to the heart, and Swank is a marvel. Any problems in the storytelling are more than balanced by her wholly committed work.
  22. 80
    That's possibly Peirce's best trick of all, telling a true story so well that you can't remember how it ends. And when you remember, you hope that you were wrong.
  23. A powerful piece of social protest, skillfully written, directed, and acted...Hilary Swank as Brandon and Chloe Sevigny as his girlfriend Lana are especially fine.
  24. Reviewed by: Gemma Files
    An incredible star turn from Hilary Swank.
  25. Rolling Stone
    Reviewed by: Peter Travers
    A shockingly intimate and deeply affecting film about the roots of sexual role playing.
  26. 80
    Gripping, and it's moving, but it isn't particularly subtle. There's a strong thread of tabloid drama running through its core -- but at least it's sensationalistic storytelling with a heart.
  27. Reviewed by: Ernest Hardy
    To watch Sevigny's Lana slowly thaw to Brandon is to see the transformative, heartbreaking power of romance in a way that Hollywood is rarely able to capture anymore.
  28. Swank gives one of the year's most complex and hard-hitting performances in the demanding central role.
  29. 70
    Swank's nuanced performance is remarkable and it's a powerful film.
  30. 70
    Free of the disclaiming jokey sneer that defaces so much of contemporary neo-noir.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 83 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 14 out of 20
  2. Negative: 1 out of 20
  1. Feb 5, 2016
    Excuse, machine translation.

    What is known, today, in light of all the "Huge" scientific achievements, of sex, of "normal sex" and all the
    Excuse, machine translation.

    What is known, today, in light of all the "Huge" scientific achievements, of sex, of "normal sex" and all the countless variables? And the terminologies? I'm not sure to be underestimated! Indeed, they are precisely the ones you qualify, identify, encapsulate, they give you the beautiful "brand" that then the "good society" is' just after a careful and aesthetically persuasive disclosure. The consequence of the "mark" is, labeling. You are, that is, that one does', you know that this other is a / an ... and all the rest and the rest.
    The value of "Boys Do not Cry" is to avoid any labeling. So I understand. Teena / Brandon is not a "scientific case." Absolutely. He 'girl, beautiful, noble sentiments, that goes' over his own body and that in and of the other body, wants to know the essence and then caress the soul.
    Boys Do not Cry is a poetic drama. Brandon Hilary Swank / to live by herself runs many dangers and in his wanderings from place to place, comes to know and fall in love with a girl named Lana Tisdel Chloe Sevigny /
    Lana, Brandon becomes, little by little a very special person. One of those guys who all, once in their life, they would like to meet and with whom think of a serious plan of life; perhaps far, it is far from that lonely and cursed place. Meet John Peter Sarsgaard / and then Tom Brendan Sexton I I I / two boys to say is perhaps a little violent.

    What would be the performance of Hilary Swank and then the whole story without the wonderful presence of Lana? Lana understands who is really Brandon or maybe does not want to know? Kimberly Peirce Director and co-screenwriter with Andy Bienen / shaped characters and has plunged them into a story that I recommend to know. A true story, a true story like many others that the film offers but with time and space enthusiasts and exciting; with music that give light to engaging images leaving a trail of questions. Two above all: - Who are the free spirits? How much it costs, be?

    To you,
    that you love,
    and make your dreams.
    Full Review »
  2. Sep 17, 2014
    This review contains spoilers, click full review link to view. Hilary Swank's Academy Award winning performance as Brandon Teena is, of course, brave and gender-bending role. A review elsewhere incorrectly refers to Brandon Teena as a trans man.

    Based on Brandon Teena's relationship with Lana Tisdel, it is also incorrectly billed as a romance. It is nothing of the sort.

    This true story of the anatomically born (young) woman who is brutally raped and murdered after her identity is revealed.

    The story foregrounds the struggle of a psychologically tortured woman’s unsuccessful efforts to have that life-changing operation to bring her peace in both body and spirit. She is severely limited and tested by her economically poor background. The story highlights the disgusting violence perpetrated by men filled with equal doses of ignorance and hatred.
    Full Review »
  3. Sep 6, 2014
    I missed part of this film but what I saw of it I thought was unbearably pretentious filmmaking which is not to say I think that gals whoI missed part of this film but what I saw of it I thought was unbearably pretentious filmmaking which is not to say I think that gals who would rather live as guys are all full of sh**. I watch a lot of movies and as a result I have seen quite a few documentaries on the subject going in both directions. I think that filmmakers skirt over the top of this type of thing and misidentify overacting with strong content. Life's a whole lot of things and I suppose it doesn't lend itself well to being encapsulated in a 90 minutes frame with any degree of depth. The documentaries I've seen are very anecdotal-which is unavoidable-but they leave me feeling like the people who made them had a neutral opinion rather than being pro or con. This film is definitely pro but it also shows the persons life to e a mire of emotional turmoil which is frustrating to deal with as a viewer. Like I said, I missed part of much of the film is valid emotional struggle and how much is self indulgent submersion in emotional trenches the same way a drug user submerses themselves in the world of their drug is not a question this film asks. It left me wanting to watch a cops & robbers film. Full Review »