Generally favorable reviews - based on 37 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 27 out of 37
  2. Negative: 0 out of 37
  1. 83
    Until it detours into dysfunctional-family comedy-drama, Transamerica rides cross-country without ever running low on bracing, cactus-spined surprises.
  2. Impressively realized on all levels, this transgender spin on the road trip boasts an extraordinary central performance.
  3. Reviewed by: Elias Savada
    Transamerica is a modern-day Sullivan's Travels.
  4. Reviewed by: Joel Stein
    But the most impressive thing is how, a few minutes into the film, you stop noticing Huffman's external transformations and start to focus on the character. Not that the external stuff isn't impressive.
  5. Reviewed by: Eddie Cockrell
    Laugh-out-loud funny, tartly off-color and ultimately touching.
  6. This debut feature left me in a state of movie euphoria. Who could have guessed that such a discomfiting premise would blossom into a deadpan-hilarious and yet deeply affecting story about a singular glitch in the human condition?
  7. 75
    The movie's soul is with Huffman. Speaking in a low voice, her posture as stiff as her vocabulary, her eyes a pool of sadness and hope, she turns this small, resonant film into a cry from the heart.
  8. 75
    What Felicity Huffman brings to Bree is the newness of a Jane Austen heroine. She has been waiting a long time to be an ingenue, and what an irony that she must begin as a mother.
  9. 75
    Despite its subject matter, Transamerica is a surprisingly funny movie, because Tucker never lets the pathos overwhelm his sense of humor.
  10. This drama offers a chuckle at every turn.
  11. It's a farce with heart, a meditation on identity, family and gender politics that has real faith in its characters - even when the characters themselves lack it.
  12. Transamerica provides the frame and the occasion for one of the year's best performances, Felicity Huffman's as a woman trapped in a man's body who's passing for female while awaiting a sex-change operation.
  13. Reviewed by: Ken Fox
    A flawed but nevertheless endearing father-son road trip with a distinctive twist.
  14. 75
    It's debatable whether watching Huffman get dressed, take hormones, and learn to use a more feminine diction could sustain an entire movie, but the character is certainly a creation more original than a lot of the film itself.
  15. What a fine, tender, delicate, funny, gender-bending-and-rebending performance this is.
  16. 75
    A perfect example of an ordinary movie made unique by the powerhouse performance of its lead.
  17. 70
    Transamerica is about as sexual as "The Brady Bunch." It's about an intelligent woman in excruciating transition to a new body that will line up with an identity she's held all along.
  18. 70
    You might feel constrained when it comes to a standing ovation, but there's certainly enough substance and yuk here to go along for the ride.
  19. Transamerica itself does not always live up to its star, but it is touching and sometimes funny, despite its overall air of indie earnestness.
  20. Reviewed by: David Edelstein
    Farce born of sadly irreconcilable impulses: Bravo!
  21. 70
    If Tucker's road map often feels a little too confining and the screwball comedy too contrived, he can take credit for introducing viewers to a character they have almost certainly never met before.
  22. The real success of Duncan Tucker, who wrote and directed this debut feature, is that, through credible dialogue and sensitive performances, the basic idea overcomes its cleverness and is affecting.
  23. The unintended effect of all the melodramatic complications in Transamerica is, oddly, to distract attention from an understanding of exactly what that courage really costs.
  24. The best, and perhaps the only, reason to see Duncan Tucker's Transamerica is for Felicity Huffman's touching, shape-shifting performance.
  25. It may not exactly be a traditional love letter to his wife but actor-turned-executive producer William H. Macy has given her a plum part as Bree in screenwriter-director Duncan Tucker's offbeat road movie.
  26. Reviewed by: Claudia Puig
    Huffman is a woman playing a man playing a woman, which is easily the year's most complicated turn. She does a fine, nuanced job in bringing to life a character that could have become a caricature.
  27. 63
    As much heralded, "edgy" movies go, Transamerica fails to live up to expectations.
  28. Reviewed by: Olly Richards
    This is actually a very middle-of-the-road movie.
  29. 60
    Never lets us forget that it's a nonmainstream story about a nonmainstream subject, when ideally, it should simply be a story about a person. The picture too often feels like a lesson in tolerance.
  30. 60
    Pleasant even without reaching much of a destination, Transamerica leaves the basic impression that it's not as self-satisfied as it could have been.
  31. Felicity Huffman is such a wonder, at once funny and brave, playing a pre-op male-to-female transsexual in the uneven comedy Transamerica that she sustains several lapses that might otherwise have sunk it.
  32. Reviewed by: Martin Rubin
    An occasionally touching, more often clumsy variation on the formula of crusty oldster and problem child bonding on a road trip. The main reason to see it is "Desperate Housewives" star Felicity Huffman.
  33. At its best, Transamerica made me laugh and feel for Bree. At its worst, it made me cringe at the potential creepiness of its central relationship.
  34. Reviewed by: Kyle Smith
    Like a preoperative transsexual, Transamerica is neither one thing nor the other. It yanks at the heartstrings too much to qualify as an edgy comedy-drama, but it's far too bawdy to make it to the Hallmark Channel.
  35. By the way, the other thing that keeps Transamerica from being a mainstream movie is its obsession with penises: showing them, talking about them, placing us in bathrooms and trailers when they're in use.
  36. Writer-director Duncan Tucker does little to develop his narrative setup beyond the basic and obvious, and his film begins to feel more like an exercise than a fully realized story.
  37. 50
    Huffman intermittently rescues Transamerica from bathos with her brusque wit, swatting away the victimization elements that figure into most films about transsexuals.
User Score

Generally favorable reviews- based on 62 Ratings

User score distribution:
  1. Positive: 25 out of 28
  2. Negative: 1 out of 28
  1. Jun 11, 2013
    Felicity Huffman is absolutely outstanding. Her performance is among the best in the last decade. A very touching movie that is a perfectFelicity Huffman is absolutely outstanding. Her performance is among the best in the last decade. A very touching movie that is a perfect blend of comedy and drama. Everything from the opening scene to Dolly Parton's song at the end is just fantastic. Full Review »
  2. Sep 6, 2014
    I suppose this film was created to draw attention to what a transgender person goes through in order to be a complete male to femaleI suppose this film was created to draw attention to what a transgender person goes through in order to be a complete male to female transexual. I think the film fails on more levels than it succeeds on. Firstly they didm't use an actual transgender person to play the part of the one in the film which is a joke in this day and age and secondly the film soft pedals the American Psychiatric Association definition of a transexual- a definition that was actually created by a tuberculosis specialist in America-not a psychologist or a psychiatrist-in 1960-completely disregarding earlier psychology/psychiatry work with the subject of transsexualism in Europe-not that it would matter now because times have changed so much since then. Worth mentioning and not addressed by the film the APA definition of transexual also treats the subject of sex change as an issue that applies to men who have done tough guy jobs but who now want to be the other sex and as such it is a complete joke. Also not dealt with by the film is that the US definition of transexual also fails to take into account that we no longer live in gender polarized times and that many males grow up any way they want to because that is the age we live in. WW2 didm't just end a few years ago. The filmmakers might think they are standing up for transgender but showing a 'transwoman' who looks like she just did her shift at the bomb factor in WW2 is nothing but scheisse of a different colour-as is the rest of this film. Does that 'draw attention to a problem ?' I'm not sure of it does-it sort of reinforces the problem aspect of things-in this viewers opinion. I guess you cannot be smart if you are not smart. Full Review »
  3. Sep 1, 2014
    Transamerica is a tale of acceptance and bonding on an unlikely road trip. Felicity Huffman is convincing and extraordinary as a transgenderedTransamerica is a tale of acceptance and bonding on an unlikely road trip. Felicity Huffman is convincing and extraordinary as a transgendered person--honestly, one of the best performances in years. Full Review »