Transamerica

Movie review by
Sierra Filucci, Common Sense Media
Transamerica Movie Poster Image
Sensitive portrayal of transsexual OK for older teens.
  • R
  • 2006
  • 103 minutes

Parents say

age 17+
Based on 3 reviews

Kids say

age 16+
Based on 1 review

A lot or a little?

The parents' guide to what's in this movie.

Positive Messages

This film encourages viewers to be more sensitive to people who are different. It shows how destructive judgmental parents can be to children's mental health. It also encourages a more realistic understanding of family -- that it's messy and complicated -- but still valuable.

Positive Role Models & Representations

Despite her initial hesitations, Bree takes responsibility for her son, as difficult as it is. She struggles with revealing the truth, but tries her best to take care of him nevertheless. Her strength despite her immense discomfort in the world is admirable. The teen boy is clearly not a role model, but the film makes that clear.

Violence

Several fistfights and punches. Indication of previous sexual abuse.

Sex

Discusses genitals regularly, and features brief, nonsexual glimpses of both male and female body parts. One brief scene where a teen boy solicits sex with a trucker -- nothing graphic shown, but it's clear what's going on. In another scene the teen boy unwittingly comes on to Bree and we see his naked body from behind. In another brief scene the teen is in a porn film and gets manipulated just slightly off screen in a matter-of-fact manner.

Language

Infrequent cursing, but everything from "f--k" to "bitch" pops up a few times.

Consumerism
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking

The teen boy smokes cigarettes, drinks alcohol, and uses drugs (snorts a powder) several times, though adults discourage this. In the end, Bree chooses to give her son a beer.

What parents need to know

Parents need to know that this sensitive portrayal of a pre-operative transsexual discusses genitals regularly and features brief, nonsexual glimpses of both male and female body parts. A 17-year-old boy is also shown turning a trick with a man and posing provocatively in underwear -- an occasional bare bottom is shown. The teen boy, who has had a troubled childhood, drinks, smokes cigarettes, snorts drugs, and gets involved in the porn industry -- though these situations are all portrayed as negatives.

User Reviews

  • Parents say
  • Kids say
Adult Written bywonder dove November 24, 2012

Excellent film - older crowd only!

Very realistic movie! It's basically about a troubled teen Toby (Kevin Zegers) who tries to contact his dad (Standley - played by Felicity Hoffman) not kno... Continue reading
Adult Written byAllie Pierson March 11, 2013

One of the Best!

It's an awesome movie about a transsexual woman, but it isn't for the little ones.
Teen, 15 years old Written byllreichling November 2, 2010

What's the story?

The week before Bree (Felicity Huffman) is scheduled to undergo a long-planned sex change operation, she finds out she fathered a child 17 years ago. The boy's troubled childhood has landed him in New York turning tricks and using drugs. Bree reluctantly travels to New York to bail him out, and they end up on a road trip across the county under the pretense that Bree is a church lady determined to change his immoral ways. Along the way the two learn about each other, for better or worse, and when Bree finally reveals her relationship to the boy he flees. In the end the duo take steps to repair their relationship.

Is it any good?

Felicity Huffman's portrayal of the pre-operative transsexual Bree is brilliant, and she won awards and was nominated for an Oscar for the performance. She imbues Bree with the awkwardness of a person highly conscious of the way she presents herself to the world, without turning the character into a buffoon. The relationship that develops between Bree and the boy is difficult and complicated, just like real life. And the encounter with Bree's family is filled with humor and poignancy.

The film is a lovely sketch of family and a personal struggle for identity, although its themes are too mature for kids and younger teens.

Talk to your kids about ...

  • Families can talk about how this movie portrays gender "dysphoria" -- or the sense that one's body does not match one's gender. What made this movie's treatment of a man dressing like a woman different from others you've seen?

  • Did anything about Bree's appearance or manner seem funny or make you uncomfortable? Why or why not? Did the movie change how you think about transsexual people?

Movie details

For kids who love quirky characters

Our editors recommend

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