Saturday, June 21, 2008
Sally orders Netflix movies online. She has such interesting taste in movies. She is always looking for something beyond the big hits. The other day we received Transamerica, starring Felicity Huffman as Bree, a man in the midst of transgender reorientation; trying to talk in the voice of a woman, trying to act like a woman, while still hauling around a penis. She bails her son out of jail in New York City. A son she didn't know she had, conceived during a moment with a woman she knew in college. It's a road trip movie, as they make their way from NYC to LA, hence the punning title, Transamerica.
Bree's son, Toby, played by Kevin Zegers, is a jerk. He's a street hustler, druggy, who has sex with men for money. It's the son's "goal" to be in porno movies. Toward the end of Transamerica he's shown "acting" in a gay porn movie.*
We find during their time together that despite her life choices Bree is a very conservative person who doesn't approve of Toby's choices. It was billed in theaters as a comedy. There are some funny situations growing out of the story, but it's not a comedy in the sense of the Adam Sandler-definition. I found out about deep stealth, which is when transgendered people hide in their new roles, not letting the world know they are going through sexual reassignment. Because of her conservatism Bree is extremely paranoid she'll be outed. She is, when the boy sees her penis while she's urinating, and also in a restaurant when an intuitive 8-year-old points her out.
All of the actors in this film are excellent, but Huffman has to carry the movie. It's her credibility that is at stake. If we don't accept that she is a man trying to become a woman then the movie would just be a joke, a caricature. Huffman is a fine actor and I bought in completely.
There are some nude scenes. I thought the nude scenes of young men seemed on the verge of porn themselves, a near-fantasy of two young guys swimming nude while Bree looks on. The porn movie sequence, and a scene where the boy sees Huffman's penis. It's shown at a distance but it must've given the actress a giggle to wear such an appliance. Huffman also appears completely nude in a bathtub scene, after her operation, where she touches her new vagina. These scenes aren't gratuitous, but are an integral part of the plot. They earned the film an R-rating, but I don't think the movie would have been as powerful without them.
I was not surprised Huffman was nominated for an Oscar in 2005 for her role in Transamerica.
*He doesn't have an erection so a young man, a fluffer, is sent in to help him prepare. A fluffer is someone who has the duty of keeping the porn star erect through "oral stimulation." Thanks to Viagra they aren't much needed anymore. I imagine there came a point when fluffers had to go look for new jobs.
What is the job description of this position, and also what would a fluffer do when applying for a new job, answering questions on a written application?
Former job: Fluffer in movies
Describe your duties: Performed oral sex on male porn actors
Salary or hourly rate of pay: Are you kidding? I was supposed to be paid?
Do you feel you did your job well? You said a mouthful!