Sensitive portrayal of transsexual OK for older teens.
  • Review Date: December 27, 2009
  • Rated: R
  • Genre: Drama
  • Release Year: 2006
  • Running Time: 103 minutes

What parents need to know

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

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.


Several fistfights and punches. Indication of previous sexual abuse.


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.


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

Not applicable
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.

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.

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.

Families can talk 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

Theatrical release date:February 10, 2006
DVD release date:May 23, 2006
Cast:Elizabeth Pena, Felicity Huffman, Kevin Zegers
Director:Duncan Tucker
Studio:Weinstein Co.
Run time:103 minutes
MPAA rating:R
MPAA explanation:sexuality, language, nudity, drug use.

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  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

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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.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
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 knowing that his dad is a transsexual woman named Bree (Felicity). Right before her surgery, she gets a call from him claiming that he has a father named Standley and that his mother died of a stroke. This causes Bree to delay her surgery and bail her son out of jail. Not knowing who she really is, she says she's affiliated with a church to help Toby get on his feet. The two embark on a road trip which leads to friendship but eventually gets tricky when Toby soon finds out that Bree is his real father. Really interesting movie - a little on the slow side but the story has depth and meaning. There is strong language (lots of *f* words throughout) - Violence includes fist fights, arguing, implied sexual abuse.) - Drugs and drinking (Toby steals liquor from a store, teen drug use such as snorting powders, what looks like marijuana use in a car by a traveling stranger). Sexual content - Toby sells his body to other men for money, prostitution talk, discussions of women's and men's body parts, Toby's bare butt is seen a couple times, Another teen boy is seen full frontal by far away. Toby kisses Bree once before finding out the truth). Absolutely not for youngsters - themes are too strong. 17++ only.
What other families should know
Great messages
Too much violence
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking
Teen, 15 years old Written byllreichling November 2, 2010
What other families should know
Too much sex
Too much swearing
Too much drinking/drugs/smoking


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