Film / Boys Don't Cry
Brandon Teena, just a regular guy. Played by Hilary Swank.

The story of the life and death of a young transman named Brandon Teena. His legal name was Teena Brandon, but that was unknown to the gang of misogynist homophobic rednecks he joined.

They accepted him as one of the guys, and he even started dating the sister of one of these new friends. Of course, when they "discovered" that he was assigned female, they considered him to be a lesbian. Homophobic hate crimes ensued.

Not to be confused with Men Don't Cry or the boy band from a SpongeBob SquarePants episode.


  • Adaptation Name Change : Real life Lisa Lambert is named Candace in the movie.
  • Adapted Out: Phillip Devine, who was murdered at the same time as Brandon and Candace / Lisa.
  • Big NO!: Lana does one after Brandon is shot.
  • Blatant Lies: Brandon makes up a ton of lies besides the obvious, like having a kid of his own, a model for a sister and has traveled the world. Also, prior to landing the role, Hilary Swank lied both about her age and about her origins. When called out for it, she said she lied because that's what Brandon would do.
    • Also, Lana lies about quitting her job.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Blonde Candace, brunette Kate and reddish blonde Lana.
  • Bloodless Carnage : Not even a drop after Candace is shot, and a little splash, despite Brandon getting it in the throat (right at the carotid artery).
  • Brainless Beauty: Brandon. "I'm going to Memphis, Graceland, and Tennessee."
  • Broken Aesop: The movie's tagline talks about "having the courage to be yourself" when the film's protagonist is a compulsive liar (claiming to have a kid, traveling the world, etc.), and when he does "be himself," he ends up getting raped and murdered.
  • California Doubling: Despite taking place in Nebraska, the "night in the big city" montage was filmed in, and features the prominent buildings of, downtown Dallas. Apparently Texas cities are metropolitan enough to fill in for other states, but not for its own.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: Graceland Memphis Tennessee.
  • Disappeared Dad: Lana's father is nowhere to be found and neither is the father of Candace's baby. Brandon's family is absent—he lies about it, then later says his father died when Brandon was very young.
  • Downer Ending
  • Foregone Conclusion: The movie is based on the last days of a famous murder victim.
  • Foreshadowing: After John kicks everyone but Lana out of the car and drives away, Tom comments that John has no impulse control.
  • Gag Penis: The fake "gear" that Brandon is packing is impossible.
  • Hard-Drinking Party Girl: Lana and her mother.
  • The Hero Dies: Brandon himself at the end. A Foregone Conclusion since this is based on a famous murder case.
  • Heteronormative Crusader: Brandon's friends take this path when they find out his biological sex. Also the mob that chases Brandon in the first scene.
  • Infant Immortality: Candace's young son.
  • "It" Is Dehumanizing : Mom refers to Brandon as "It" after they discover the truth.
  • Meaningful Echo: When Brandon walks Lana home and she's embarrassed about her house, he says "You're so pretty." Near the end of the film when Brandon is hiding out in the barn after being raped, Lana says "You're so pretty," and kisses him.
  • Missing Mom: The mother of John's daughter April is out of the picture.
  • Murder the Hypotenuse: It's implied that John is interested in/obsessed with Lana, and this is part of his motivation (aside from homophobia and poor impulse control).
  • Obstructive Bureaucrat: Along with a large dose of Obfuscating Stupidity, the bonehead sheriff who keeps asking rude and inflammatory questions.
  • Only Known by Their Nickname : Lana's mom is only called "Mom" in the film, and the character name is...Lana's Mom.
  • Oscar Bait: Swank won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In addition, Chloe Sevigny was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and the film won several other awards.
  • Police Are Useless: Not only do they not believe Brandon, they seem to think he deserved what he got.
  • Rape as Drama
  • Right Through His Pants: Brandon doesn't take off his clothes when he has sex with Lana. Justified, in this case, as he doesn't want to reveal his secret yet.
  • Shower of Angst: Brandon takes a shower after he has been raped by men who discovered his birth sex, with the camera lingering on shots of his female body. Subverted in the previous scene when John and Tom try to force him to have a shower after they beat and rape him, in order to Destroy the Evidence. Brandon escapes through the bathroom window.
  • The Medic: The kind nurse that patches Brandon up serves this purpose. Although she has no "powers" in the specific sense, she nonetheless helps Brandon, in contrast to the police.
  • Triumphant Reprise: The girls sing the song "The Bluest Eyes In Texas" by Restless Heart in the bar where Brandon first meets Lana. At the end of the film when Lana is finally leaving Falls City the cover by Nina Persson plays over it.
  • Very Loosely Based on a True Story: Seems like a number of facts about the events portrayed in the movie were omitted and others outright fabricated. The real Lana Tisdel disliked how she was portrayed and described the movie as "The second murder of Brandon Teena."
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Kate disappears after Brandon is exposed in front of everyone and we never hear what happened to her. Also, Candace's baby is last seen walking back into the bedroom after she's been shot, and it's not said what happened to him (In real life Mom took the baby). Ditto for John's daughter April. John states early in the movie that April's mother gave him to her for "a few days," so it's a fair assumption the child went back to her mom.