Those eyes, those thighs,
It's the Crying Gaaaaame!
So you want to know about The Crying Game
? The movie is best remembered for its now infamous
plot twist, but there's more to it than that.
Fergus (Stephen Rea) is a grunt in the IRA
. He and his cell capture a British soldier stationed in Ireland, Jody (Forest Whitaker
). They hold him hostage, hoping Britain will release one of their own in exchange for Jody's safety. If the British government refuses to comply, the IRA will execute Jody. Fergus is only supposed to guard the prisoner. He's not supposed to take his hood off. He's definitely not supposed to humanize Jody. Unfortunately, Fergus is at heart, a decent guy. He can't resist treating Jody humanely.
Over the next four days, Fergus and Jody get to know each other. Jody tells his captor about his girl back home, Dil. He even shows Fergus a picture in his wallet. He bemoans the fact that he might never see her again, and asks Fergus to look after her, should the worst befall him.
Of course, the order eventually comes down that Jody has to die. Fergus is slated for the task, but can't bring himself to do it, buying Jody a chance for escape...which gets him about as far as the nearest road where he's quickly run over by a tank. The British army has found the IRA hiding spot, it seems. Distraught, Fergus runs for it, fleeing both the British soldiers and his former men-at-arms.
Having no other course of action, Fergus makes his way to London to honor Jody's last request. He reinvents himself as Jimmy and finds Dil working as a hairdresser and sometime lounge singer. Though he means to tell her the truth about himself, he finds himself falling for her first. But, he's not the only one with a secret.
This film provides examples of:
- Abhorrent Admirer: David for Dil.
- As the Good Book Says: When Jody wants Fergus to tell him a story (after hearing he's set to die), the only thing Fergus can come up with is to quote from Paul's first letter to the Corinthians ("When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things").
- Arc Words: The story of "The Scorpion and the Frog" near the beginning and at the very end.
- Ate His Gun: Dil wants to, but Fergus won't let her.
- Attractive Bent-Gender: Dil is a prime example.
- Award Bait Song: Averted. "The Crying Game" wasn't original, so it wasn't eligible for an Academy Award.
- Bad Dreams: Fergus has them about Jody.
- Badass Boast:
Jimmy: Have you ever picked up your teeth with broken fingers?
- Bittersweet Ending: Fergus is out of the IRA, but in jail. He and Dil seem to be together, though, even if it's a long distance relationship.
- Bound and Gagged: Jody.
- And again, with the film's usual irony, Fergus.
- Captain Obvious: Fergus is pretty slow on the uptake regarding Dil and who knew about this and that and so on.
- Chekhov's Gun: A subtle one, when Jody forces Fergus to pull out his penis for him to urinate. Considering Jody's girlfriend, the deliberate Ho Yay comes back thematically when Fergus' idea of sexuality is tested.
- Conspicuously Public Assassination: The IRA wants Fergus to perform one of these.
- Dead Star Walking: Forest Whitaker.
- Dragon Their Feet: Jude outlives Peter by a few minutes.
- Femme Fatale: Jude, especially when she goes raven-haired.
Jude: Fuck me, Fergus?... am I to take that as a "no"?
- Friendly Enemy: It's strongly implied Fergus and Jody would have been bestest buddies had they not been IRA and British Army opponents.
- Gender-Blender Name: Jody, Jude, and Dil.
- Genre Shift: From a fairly manly action movie to a sympathetic look at gender issues. It still retains some violence and political intrigue though.
- Good Hair, Evil Hair: Jude is murderous when she's blonde, but she's saintly compared to when she goes dark-haired.
- Hair-Trigger Temper: Peter.
- Heroic Sacrifice:
Dil: You're doing time for me. No greater love, as the man says. Wish you'd tell me why.
- Honey Trap: The IRA gets Jody by sending one of these (played by Miranda Richardson) after him
- If I Do Not Return: Or rather "If they kill me". Jody's last will is for Fergus to find Dil out.
- If It's You, It's Okay: Implied to be the resolution for Dil and Fergus.
- Important Haircut: One for Fergus (though done off-screen) when he reinvents himself as Jimmy. Another for Dil when she has to go into hiding.
- Insistent Terminology: Dil continues to call Fergus loving terms after The Reveal, to his consternation.
- Karma Houdini: Dil, since Fergus takes the rap for her.
- Lima Syndrome
- Male Frontal Nudity: Used for The Reveal.
- Manslaughter Provocation: Probably what Fergus gets convicted of.
- One Last Smoke: Jody, and he doesn't even smoke in the first place.
- Resignations Not Accepted: Jude to Fergus.
Fergus: No way. I'm out.
Jude: (practically rolling her eyes) You're never out.
- Roaring Rampage of Revenge: Dil on Jude.
- Scotireland: Northern Irish terrorist Fergus initially tells Londoner Dil that he is Scottish, and Dil appears to believe him. Possibly justified in that London has a wide variety of accents and Dil, being young and perhaps inexperienced, might not have known the difference.
- Shower of Angst: This famous post-revelation scene has been harkened back to many times, most-famously spoofed in Ace Ventura.
- Stalker with a Crush: Eddie.
- Suspiciously Apropos Music: The film opens "When a Man Loves a Woman", and ends with "Stand By Your Man".
- Sympathetic Murderer: Dil.
- Taking the Heat: After Dil kills Jude—arguably in a fit of temporary insanity—Fergus tells her to leave the apartment. He watches her run across the back lot before wiping her fingerprints off the murder weapon, wrapping his own hand around the gun, and sitting down near Jude's body to wait for police.
- Titled After the Song: Dave Berry's "The Crying Game", covered by Boy George.
- Title Drop: The eponymous song is sung by Dil.
- Transsexual: In the famous twist, Dil.
- Traumatic Haircut: Dil. The last thing she wants to be is a boy again. The only way Dil agrees is that Fergus insists that he's doing it for love; she still cries as her hair is cut.
Fergus: Do anything for me?
: Anything... (Fergus starts to cut her hair) NO WAY!
Fergus: You said anything.
Dil: Girl has to draw the line somewhere.
- To Dil's credit, she wears her newly shortened hair stylishly at the end. As always.
- Unrequited Love: A major theme of the film.
- Unsettling Gender Reveal: And how.
- We Could Have Avoided All This: A tearjerking version, when Fergus sadly says to Jody's photo, "You should have stayed home."
- We Do Not Know Each Other: Played with. When the IRA comes after Fergus again, he tries to get Dil to play along with this, since Jude has identified her as "the wee black chick". He puts her up in a hotel and cuts her hair, but his plan doesn't quite work out.
- What You Are in the Dark: Fergus gets one of these when it's time to kill Jody. He can't bring himself to do it.
- Ironic Echo when Dil wants to kill Fergus, but can't bring herself to do it, either.