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Transamerica (2005)

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A preoperative transgender woman takes an unexpected journey when she learns that she fathered a son, now a teenage runaway hustling on the streets of New York.

Director:

Duncan Tucker

Writer:

Duncan Tucker
Nominated for 2 Oscars. Another 32 wins & 24 nominations. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Andrea James ... Voice Coach
Felicity Huffman ... Bree
Danny Burstein ... Dr. Spikowsky
Maurice Orozco Maurice Orozco ... Fernando
Elizabeth Peña ... Margaret
Craig Bockhorn Craig Bockhorn ... Sergeant
Paul Borghese ... New York City Cop
Kevin Zegers ... Toby
Jon Budinoff ... Alex
Venida Evans ... Arletty
Raynor Scheine ... Bobby Jensen
Kate Bayley Kate Bayley ... Tennessee Waitress
Stella Maeve ... Taylor
Teala Dunn ... Little Girl
Jim Frangione ... Taylor's Father
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Storyline

Southern Californian Bree Osbourne, formerly Stanley Chupak, has finally received the news for which she has been waiting: she has been approved for male-to-female sexual reassignment surgery. But before Margaret, her therapist, will allow her to go through with the surgery scheduled in a week's time, Bree has to deal with an unresolved problem from her past. Bree gets a telephone call from a seventeen year old man named Toby Wilkins, who is looking for Stanley, his biological father. Toby is in a New York jail, having been supporting himself by petty crime and hustling. Stanley/Bree knew nothing about Toby before the telephone call. Toby apparently is all alone in the world, with his mother having committed suicide and being estranged from his stepfather in Tennessee. Masquerading as a Christian social worker, Bree, not telling him either of her true identity or her transgender status, bails Toby out of jail and tells him she will take him to Los Angeles, where Toby has aspirations ... Written by Huggo

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Life is a journey. Bring an open mind. See more »


Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated R for sexual content, nudity, language and drug use | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Official Sites:

Bac Films [France] | Official site

Country:

USA

Language:

English | Spanish

Release Date:

3 March 2006 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

Transamerika See more »

Filming Locations:

Arizona, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$1,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$46,908, 4 December 2005

Gross USA:

$9,015,303

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$15,151,744
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Belladonna Productions See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Felicity Huffman nicknamed her prosthetic penis "Andy" during filming. See more »

Goofs

Bree's sister, half Jewish, misuses the Yiddish phrase "kin-ahora" when she hears about Toby's mother's suicide. The phrase means "may the evil eye be averted" and is roughly equivalent to "knock on wood". It is used when you say something GOOD, to avert a spell cast by a jealous person or a demon. It would NEVER be used with respect to something bad. See more »

Quotes

Bree Osbourne: Eat your vegetables
Toby: [Toby starts eating with his hands]
Bree Osbourne: And might wanna use a fork. Just an idea.
See more »

Crazy Credits

For all people of trans experience, For all people of any experience, and For my family. See more »

Connections

Featured in 12th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards (2006) See more »

Soundtracks

Lost in the Lonesome Pines
Written by Jim Lauderdale
Performed by Jim Lauderdale, Ralph Stanley, and the Cinch Mountain Boys
Published by Laudersongs / Mighty Nice Music (BMI)
Courtesy of Dualtone Music Group
By Arrangement with Sugaroo!
See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

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User Reviews

 
On the Road Again
21 January 2006 | by moutonbear25See all my reviews

TRANSAMERICA Written & Directed by Duncan Tucker

A perky spokesperson is on the television. "This is the voice I want to use," she repeats, staring directly into the camera. Bree Osbourne (Felicity Huffman) watches this instructional tape, using it as yet one more step to ultimately eliminate every trace of Stanley Schupack, the man she once was and biologically still is, or at least she still will be for the next week. Bree is a pre-operation, male-to-female transsexual with a definite distaste for all things supposedly male. This means anything vulgar or classless and even her penis. She would much rather embrace all that is delicate, artistic, and insightful. These conscious decisions show gender as a performance, a calculated choice to put forth the parts of you that you identify as more innately masculine or feminine in accordance with who you want to be. In Bree's case, the decisions she makes are often awkward and misplaced, from the jerkiness of her walk to her often difficult-to-process-how -she-rationalized-that-was-a-good-look- for-her ensembles. Despite that, the decisions she makes are her own and having made them and consequently sticking with them is more important than the decisions themselves. After all, she is about to make a much bigger decision that she will have to live with for the rest of her life

Just as Bree can almost feel the jarring cold of the surgical knife on her skin, she learns that her one sexual fumble with a woman back in college, when she was still Stanley, led to the birth of a child. (oh, those silly college experimentations.) That child, Toby (Kevin Zegers), has gotten himself arrested and sent to a juvenile detention unit up in New York City. In response, Bree's therapist will not sign off on her authorization to go ahead with the surgery if Bree refuses to confront this boy and her past. Upon meeting Toby, Bree learns that he hustles to earn a living and enjoys his hallucinogenics while he is still holding on to his dream of making it in the movies. He aims high but he's still a realist, acknowledging that his big future in the film industry will likely be in gay porn. From the looks of him in his undies, I dare say he's a pretty perceptive kid, not to mention a good shot at success. In the driver's seat we have a timid and awkward father who will soon be a mother but has not divulged this much to her son. In the passenger seat, we have an ambitious and bright young man who has lost his way without realizing. And thus begins the great transamerican road trip from New York City to Los Angeles. Bree's seemingly unsolicited act of kindness inspires Toby to be a better man and return that kindness to this stranger. This cycle continues along the way as we watch two people who are so acutely aware of the roles they portray to the world, shed their thick skins and take on new roles without even realizing they're doing it. One is trying to be heard right now and the other has tried for so long not to be seen. Yet on this cross country trek, they both leave these acts they're so used to aside and embrace their new selves as a mother who helps her child see his worth and a child who makes his mother feel more like a woman than any instructional videotape or hormone she's ever seen or taken.

Felicity Huffman knows how to play a reluctant mother. As the exhausted mother of four, Lynette Scavo on television's DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES, Huffman exhibits her strengths as an actress by playing Lynette as a woman who relies on her instincts. She is protective and fierce while still sensitive and nurturing. While her television character's hesitation comes from a lack of confidence in her abilities to embody one of life's most natural roles, her TRANSAMERICA film persona holds back for mostly selfish reasons. She has not felt like herself her entire life (The look of disgust on her face when a doctor asks how she feels about her penis hits hard for how quick and harsh a reaction it is). Having a problem son to deal with and eventually confront regarding his misconceived notions about his birth father is a direct obstacle that she had not counted on. This is her initial fear but Bree is actually terrified that she has no nurturing capabilities just like her television counterpart. It is only by spending time with her son that she comes to learn that she has much wisdom to impart upon him, that she was not ruined entirely by her parents or that she could stand to learn a thing or two from him as well.

The issue of control, having it in one's life or over one's self is a struggle for most but can be even more of an arduous challenge for marginalized people, like a transsexual person. He or she not only needs to ingest numerous hormones in order be more like the person they feel they are inside which is in complete contradiction to the body they've been given but they then have to deal with the ignorance and judgment that is given to them each time they put on their armor and walk outside their door. TRANSAMERICA is a film about learning how to incorporate the person you've always known yourself to be, the person you so desperately want to become and about healing the relationships with the people you meet and touch along the winding road that gets you there.


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