More noise than signal


Republished from the show notes of my other site, Fuds on Film.

Felicity Huffman’s Bree is looking forward to the gender reassignment surgery that will, physically at least, make a woman out of him, however her life gets flipped, turned upside down, when a phone call comes through telling her that she had fathered a son after a college indiscretion.

Said kid, Toby (Kevin Zegers) is currently languishing in a New York police jail, and Bree is told in no uncertain terms that she must deal with this before her surgery, so off she goes from Los Angeles to bail him out.

She doesn’t reveal this relationship to Toby, instead posing as a church outreach worker. Wanting shot of any such complications, Bree sets about finding the quickest way to discharge any guardianship. With the birth mother having died many years back, it seems like a trip to a long estranged stepfather may be the best option. So, a plan for a road trip is hatched, although Toby has very different reasons for agreeing to go.

He thinks he’ll end up in Los Angeles, where he hopes to beak into the porn industry, which would be a welcome change from his career as a small time drug dealer and male prostitute. I suppose. So, off they go in a beaten up old Jalopy, and, like most road movies, they start learning about each other. However, there’s a lot of high stakes secrets to learn on this trip, and that’s before their car gets nicked by a peyote shaman.

With solid characterisation throughout and a clutch of believable, very human performances, there’s a great deal to like in the film. It’s frequently very funny, and certainly in this company it’s perhaps the most enjoyable and easiest watch.

The striking thing, again in this company, about this film is that the issues of transgenderism aren’t at the forefront of the film, really, the character relationships are. Which might seem a little strange, but there’s a solid argument for such normalisation being the best way to deal with it.